Old books: useful?

Students General Students


Hope this is in the right place!

Ok. So I've had a very sudden interest in the nursing field and I plan on becoming a CNA in a month or so, then sorting out my finances and going to college. Practically everyone in my fiance's family is a nurse and they said they'd help me in any way they could. I asked if I could use any books, just to start a little early and get an idea of the things I'll need to know. The only problem is there are only three books they have in the house and all three are 20-30 years old! How much has medicine and the nursing field changed since the early 80s? Hahaha.

Should I even bother opening these dusty books, or is there some relevant info I can still find in them?

The books, btw, are:

Mosby's Comprehensive Review of Nursing

Mosby's Pharmacology in Nursing (sixteenth edition)

Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health



207 Posts

I don't know how much of the information would be useful. We had new editions of our text books and some standards of care have already changed. In 20-30 so much research has been done and laws have changed.


283 Posts

I have to agree with the pp, alot has changed in the standard of care in the last 20-30 years. We've had books that are the current edition and are still not quite up to date because of changes in legislation and healthcare delivery.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

1 Article; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

Yes! Hold onto them! Yes, there is still relevant information in them. When I was in nursing school someone gave me nursing books that were 40 years old and another person gave me a 10-year old med/surg book. I found a lot of answers in the 10 year old book that my new textbooks didn't have in them. Schools, unfortunately, tend to re-use old tests and handouts without updating them and many are based on information from nurses trained using those old books or using those old books. When we were learning about what nurses do my 40 year old books were entertaining to read and one of my instructors who collected antique nursing implements wanted to buy them. Sometimes the older books explain things in easier language used before we got into this "nursing language" that is used today. It never hurts to have a supplemental book around to get a second or third author's opinion about. And some things will not change. Basic nursing care of ADLs will not change. Basic nursing care of things like nausea and pain will not have changed much and those will be in those books. I graduated in 1975. I remember the Mosby's series of books. You should find a lot of independent nursing actions listed in those books. Nursing diagnoses were only coming about at the time and may not even be referenced in them.

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