"Optional" books?

Students General Students


I'm curious to know which, if any, of the "optional" books you have bought (that have helped you) in your nursing program. We are only *required* to purchase four books for fall: Fundamentals of Nursing, Clinical Skills and Techniques, Pharmacology, and Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy. There is a *long* list of so-called optional books, including two medical dictionaries, the nurses' med-deck, all four study guides, a handbook of nursing diagnosis, a care plan book, strategies for test taking, and the student nurse planner.

Have any of you purchased these, and have they helped you at all? What would you recommend as a must-have outside of your required books?




820 Posts

A medical dictionary is all most a must. I also love my Med Deck, but its not a must. THe test taking strategy book was not worth much to me.

The study guides may be a very good idea, mostly because those are an awesome "test bank" for teachers to pull test questions off of.

Nursing Diagnosis book (i recommend NANDA) is a good idea for doing care plans.

Good luck!


ADN 2002

155 Posts

Hey, Krista,

I agree with BrandyBSN, you need a medical dictionary (Taber's is good). Here is a list of other books that I have found to be useful:

1. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Rationales by Marilyn E. Doenges and Mary Frances Moorhouse, copyright 2000 (is small red spiral bound book, published by Davis) - has NANDA diagnoses (I would NOT recommend the Carpenito diagnosis book - I have found it to be really confusing - this book is much better)

2. Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference (4th ed.) by Pagana/Pagana copyright 1999 (small green book published by Mosby)

3. Nursing Care Plans: Guidelines for Individualizing Patient Care (5th ed.) by Doenges, Moorhouse, and Geissler, copyright 2000 (is large green book, published by Davis)

4. Nursing Care Planning Guidelines: For adults in acute, extended and home care settings (5th ed.) by Ulrich and Canale, copyright 2001 (is large blue book, published by Saunders) - looks like a great care plan book, I just bought this one yesterday and can't wait to use it on my next paper

5. Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses (mine is 7th edition, but I think the new one for 2002 is out already) by Deglin and Vallerand

6. Brunner & Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing (9th ed) by Smeltzer and Bare, copyright 2000 (is really big blue book, published by Lippincott) - this med-surg book is a lot easier to read than the one that was required for my class (Medical-Surgical Nursing Across the Health Care Continuum (3rd ed.) by Ignatavicius, Workman, and Mishler, 1999, published by Saunders)

I hope this list helps you - I know it seems like a lot of books, but these are the best that I've found so far (I'm always looking for a better book!)


820 Posts

I personally like Mosby's Dictionary best, but only because it has neat pictures.

Brunner & Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing is an AWESOME book.. Very easy to read. It was the book used by my class.

I also have Davis Drug guide for nurses, but I would recommend the Springhouse MediQuik Cards 12th Edition. they are also endorsed by the National Student Nurses Association. You can grab the cards out of it you need, put them in your pocket, and not have to worry about that whole drug guide.

Krista, I strongly recommend purchasing the medical dictionary. My personal favorite is the Mosby Dictionary. Also a care plan book should not be considered optional it should be considered a must. I have the nursing diagnosis handbook by ackley and Ladwig that we are required to have and it is wonderful and provides care plans for every NANDA-Approved Diagnosis so you can get the concept and the idea. It has nursing interventions and outcome classifications. The study guides some students can do without but I can not do without it serves as a wonderful test preparation and in my opinion to see how much you really know and can aid you in your studying. As far as the student nurse planner, I have one if you are talking about the one that is made by Saunders and It is pretty good but would spend my money on something else. It has some good tips but mainly as the calender and address book and you can buy a dayplanner cheaper somewhere else. So the student nurse planner is really optional and if you have the extra money and feel you need it then do so. Also a NCLEX-REVIEW book is not a must have but it may help you with your test especially if your school gives NCLEX style tests. I have been reading through my review books and wish I had them last semester it would have been good preparation.


6,011 Posts


Back in the Jurassic period when I was a student....we had a "required" Med/Surg book....I forget it's title or authors.....that the Syllabus of the school listed. There was an Unspoken Truth passed on by the instructors at the end of the previous course......if you want that book....don't purchase it, there are dozens (never used) in the library.........

If you want to LEARN...get a Brunner and Suddarth...... My 19..um errrr copyright one was just as good then as the new one is now.

I also would recommend a Mosby or a Tabers Dictionary.......Personally having learned with a Taber it's my preference.

I like the Mi Ja Kim nursing diagnosis book.....out of print.....

Nanda gets easier......I'm not sure why, but as soon as a professor told us all the "as evidenced by" are always/usually another Nanda diagnosis....it all started to come together for me.

I STILL think careplans are for the birds......(MY OPINION ONLY...and I'm not gonna change it), but.....it's required, so I do it.

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