The Practical Book & Reading List for Student Nurses

The course book or reading list is one of the first things sent to students when successfully being grated a place at university.

Many student nurses complain they spend hundreds of pounds on books that are either available online, in your university library or found to be of no use at all.

We firmly recommend checking out the local library, university library or searching online before you purchase any book from the list. 


TIP: We also recommend trying to buy books second-hand - try eBay or Amazon. Usually different editions are released with only minor changes but a significant price tag. You should sign up to Amazon Prime Student for £39 a year - not only do you get free delivery on most textbooks you also get access to their streaming services and thousands of digital textbooks. 

TIP: You have a vast array of apps at your fingertips. You should take a look at our recommended apps list for nurses and healthcare professionals.

With this in mind, we have created our practical reading list. A set of practical books that will stand you in good stead for both clinical placement and writing those all-important assignments - some of them are even FREE!

The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures

The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures has been the number one choice for nurses since it first published, over 30 years ago. One of the world′s most popular books on clinical skills and procedures, it provides detailed procedure guidelines based on the latest research findings and expert clinical advice, enabling nurses and students to deliver clinically effective patient–focused care.

Where to buy it? Currently available on Amazon for £25.

The Code for Nurses and Midwives

The NMC Code of Conduct presents the professional standards that nurses and midwives must uphold in order to be registered to practise in the UK.

Where to buy it? All of the NMC professional standards are available online for free and you'll need them for every assignment.

British National Formulary (BNF)

The British National Formulary (BNF) is your essential reference book for prescribing, dispensing, and administering medicines.

Where to buy it? You can usually get one second-hand from a Nurse, Pharmacist or GP - they get issued a new one every 6 months. I firmly recommend against buying a copy. 

The Student Nurse Handbook

This convenient Handbook will be invaluable to students starting out on a pre-registration nursing course. Covering a broad range of topics, from helping understand what tutors and mentors expect, how to plan work, and coping with stress, it will support undergraduates across all aspects of student life.

Where to buy it? Some universities give this out for free to students. You can buy a copy on Amazon for £12.

Medical Dictionary

Written by a team of medical experts, all entries have been revised and updated for this new edition to reflect the very latest in medical knowledge and practice. Entries are accessible and jargon-free and are complemented by over 140 illustrations and diagrams.

Where to buy it? You can usually pick these up pretty cheap. You can find it on Amazon for as little as 1p for a physical book but there are multiple online medical dictionaries or even apps that are free to use.

Nursing and Health Survival Guides

These fantastic little guides are perfect to take to placement in your pocket. They come on a variety of topics; Drugs in use, clinical skills, medical abbreviations, wound care, reflective practice and essay writing, clinical assessment, palliative care and many more.

Where to buy it? Currently available on Amazon for £5.99 each.

Are you a student nurse? Do you have any suggestions to add to our practical book list or even a tip? You can post them in the comments section below.