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The Practical Book & Reading List for Student Nurses

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Education

Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

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Nursing students will learn how they can work with MPs to promote the nursing profession in a new training session organised by the RCN.

Members of the RCN’s student committee and student information officers – the RCN’s representatives in universities – will learn their way around the UK parliament and the government from the UK Parliament Outreach and Engagement Service.

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The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

The RCN’s public affairs team will talk through the college’s approach to engaging with parliamentarians, especially the crucial role members can play. The team will explain different tactics and approaches students can take as well as what they can ask MPs to do to show their support for nursing staff in their constituencies.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “To work effectively, any union must be able to engage MPs and ministers.

“We know our members make the most powerful advocates for the profession. When frontline nursing staff sit in front of parliamentarians, you can see they listen.

“It’s through the hard work of members that vital issues such as safe staffing, harassment and health policy reach the top of the agenda.

“When nursing faces challenges on every front, the RCN wants to make sure our advocates are fully-equipped.”

Charlotte Hall, chair of the students’ committee, said: “Student nurses represent the future of the profession. Learning to engage with MPs is vital if we are to effectively shape that future and ensure the best possible care for patients.

“With these skills, committee members and student reps will be able to help other nurses make their voices heard on behalf of the profession and patients.”

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Nurse apprenticeships to introduced at nine more universities

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Nursing apprenticeships are to be introduced at nine more universities in England by September 2018.

Nine universities are to be given part of a £4.9 million grant by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to devise their training programmes for nursing apprenticeships over the next year.

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This is the second wave of investment from HEFCE’s Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund, designed to produce 4,500 apprentices from the following higher education establishments.

  • Coventry University.
  • Keele University.
  • Leeds Trinity University.
  • University of Cumbria.
  • University of Suffolk.
  • Southampton Solent University.
  • Birmingham City University.
  • Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Middlesex University.

Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, congratulated the universities provided with funding;

“They will now work with employers to develop new degree apprenticeship provision across a variety of sectors. This will help more people to access higher education, and to follow their chosen career, while closing the skills gaps in the economy”.

Last year, in its first wave of apprenticeship funding, HEFCE gave money to four universities so they could offer nurse apprenticeships from September 2017.

Alongside this plan, Health Education England revealed last month it intends to train up to 45,000 new nursing associates by 2027.

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RCN introduces new infection prevention course

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The RCN has announced an innovative new course which will provide nurses working in infection prevention and control (IPC) with the skills to lead the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

The RCN Professional Development Course for Infection Prevention and Control is an introductory module designed for nurses working in the NHS, independent and social care sectors.

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The course will prepare nurses working in or have an interest in IPC for the current and future challenges to their work resulting from antimicrobial resistance. It will be piloted in Spring 2018.

Resistance to antibiotics in health and care settings is increasing globally as well as in the UK. Public Health England’s campaign, “Keep Antibiotics Working”, recently highlighted the key role nurses can play in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Infection prevention and control and the work of IPC nurses is pivotal in reducing the need for antibiotics and combatting this threat in all care settings.

On the programme, participants will develop clinical and leadership skills in the prevention of infection, learn how to lead a service improvement project in their workplace and the most effective ways to manage and sustain change.

Rose Gallagher, RCN Professional Lead for Infection Prevention and Control, said:

“The UK is leading the fight against antimicrobial resistance and the prevention of infection. Antibiotic resistance is a very real risk whereby simple infections are prolonged or become untreatable.

“Nurses have paved the way as clinical leaders in the prevention and management of infection and this course is responding to their current and future training needs. It will focus on practical work-based learning and develop specialist nurses that can adapt to changes in clinical practice and service provision in line with changes to health systems.

“It’s important we focus on the prevention of infection everywhere, not just in hospitals. The role of IPC nurses is constantly evolving and this course will help direct improvements to combat the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance in all settings.”

Further details about the course will be published in the New Year and expressions of interest can be registered on the RCN website.

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