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Nursing Textbooks: Keep or Toss?


Just wondering, what do you do with your nursing textbooks? Do you sell them or keep them for future reference?

I sold most of my nursing textbooks because I figured you can always look up information on the internet. In the nursing world there is always something new...

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

I was just talking about this with one of my visiting nurses the other day. Keep them. Why? Sometimes older textbooks will contain information that gets left out of the newer textbooks. Older textbooks tend to have better explanations of some procedures. As new things come along the textbook writers will begin cutting things out of textbooks that they feel no longer need to be there or that they feel is taking up too much space and can be deleted, and of course, that's when you need to find that information. When I was in nursing school I had a 10-year old nursing textbook in which I found a lot of information that my newer version textbook just did not have in it. EX: we could not find any information about a Blakemore-Sengstaken tube, but there was great information about it in my older textbook. You will run across doctors that use older names for procedures and equipment that you will only find in older textbooks. Another example is this milk and molasses enema--an older treatment seldom talked about in newer textbooks.

HeartsOpenWide, RN

Specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

I kept all of them except for my geriatric nursing, nursing research, and community health nursing textbooks. They are great for references. Sure there is stuff on the internet, but you have to go to the right places.

I keep mine. Unless it's in a subject that I'm not really interested in or something that I know I don't want to do. For example, I'm in my mental health rotation and I KNOW that I don't want to do that. I also know that I don't want to do OB so I sold that one.

I was actually about to post a similar question but thought I might jump in here instead. I'm not in nursing school yet, but trying to figure out which pre-requisite textbooks I should keep. I know I'm hanging on to my Nutrition and A&P books... what about Microbio? Regular Bio? Chem? Did any of you use your old books for reference in nursing school?


Has 4 years experience.

I sold back a lot of my prereq books other than Anatomy..I sold my Chem book and Micro book because honestly, they weren't too helpful to begin with (but I got B's!) I have kept the majority of my nursing books just until I know for sure I won't need them in the future. I recommend at least keeping them for a semester or so, you never know when you might need to go back and look up something or refresh your mind..once they are sold it really sucks to have to buy them again!


Specializes in Cardiac, Derm, OB.

I vote keep em. You never know when you might need a reference material. Also, are you sure you are done with school? I mean you might go back later on and get a more advanced degree and the info would help with "brushing up". Just my 2cents.

I will keep them. I am in my second semester of nursing school and my instructor sometime tell us to refer back to a book we used the first semester.


Specializes in Critical Care. CVICU. Adult and Peds PACU.. Has 8 years experience.

i was actually about to post a similar question but thought i might jump in here instead. i'm not in nursing school yet, but trying to figure out which pre-requisite textbooks i should keep. i know i'm hanging on to my nutrition and a&p books... what about microbio? regular bio? chem? did any of you use your old books for reference in nursing school?

i just finished up block 2 and honestly, i would sell all your prereq books on ebay. even nutrition and a&p... all of what you need to know will be covered in your med-surg books. in my med-surg book by lewis, it has chapters for a&p, followed by a chapter of all of the diseases in that specific system - and its very thorough. all those other books will just be sitting there collecting dust.

trust me, you wont even have time in nursing school to go back and reference other books...

i kept my pathophysiology book because i thought for sure i would need it, i ended up selling it after block 1 because my other books covered the exact material.

Keeping all of my nursing books. I refer to them all the time! From OB to PEDI...the only bad thing is that I have written in them! Oh well...they are all so pretty too! :)

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience.

I sold all my pre req books, I really wish I would have kept my A&P books. As for nursing books we are told to keep them so I will. Although I never even used them for first semester so not sure why, but I have no doubt if I get rid of them I will need them.

cjcsoon2bnp, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

Personally I sold all of my pre-req books and I've done ok up to this point. However, I did keep all of my books that I got once I was accepted into the program because I still use them as a reference.

!Chris :specs:

I also have kept the introductory nursing books like pathophysiology, fundamentals, nursing research etc. I plan to keep my med/surg book but all the others I have sold. I still have my chemistry book too.

al7139, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5 years experience.


I graduated 2+ years ago and currently work on a Cardiac unit. I kept ALL my textbooks and my A&P books. I still use them as references for disease process, nursing practice, drug reference, and procedures. I would have regretted selling even one of them. I even still use my A&P books for help. I recommend keeping them even after you graduate. Trust me, you will still use them!


i sold the ones i dont really care about, ie theory, health promotion modeling, study guides etc.