11 Beach Reads for Nurse Practitioners that Make Summer Even Better

How’s your summer going? Mine has been pretty action packed, so most of my pleasure ‘reading’ has been in the form of audio book. In a few weeks, however, I will be heading to the lake with family for vacation and I’m in the market for a few beach reads to enjoy for the week. If you’re also a nurse practitioner who could also use some summer reading material, check out these beach reads for NPs (in no particular order). 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: I’ve mentioned The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks before on the ThriveAP blog. And, I have to say, that years later it remains one of my all time favorite healthcare reads. Skloot tells the true story of a poor, African American tobacco farmer, whose DNA became one of the most important tools in modern medicine. Without so called HeLa cells, we may not have the knowledge of the genome, or many of the medical advancements, we enjoy today. 

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: Lisa Genova’s bestselling novel turned feature film, relates the story of an accomplished professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The compelling tale is both beautiful and terrifying, taking the reader on a moving journey. 

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The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis by Arthur Allen

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: Plagued by the gruesome disease typhus during WWII, the German Reich searched desperately for a vaccine. Their plight brought them to Polish zoologist Rudolf Weigl who had made previous attempts at vaccine development. Hiring a squad of accomplished scientists and mathematicians to assist with development of the preventative serum, Weigl not only shielded bright minds from the Nazis, but also sabotaged the Reich throughout his efforts. 

A Case of Need by Michael Crichton

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: Physician Michael Crichton penned A Case of Need shortly after completing his medical internship. When a surgery tragically ends in death at a Boston medical center, tensions rise as the botched operation raises questions. Was this malpractice, or murder?

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: Another of my all time favorite healthcare related reads, in Brain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan recounts her personal descent into madness. Labeled as a psychiatric patient, Susannah’s family sticks by her side until doctors are able to uncover her true diagnosis. 

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: Bestselling author Daniel Tammet takes readers on a tour of his fascinating mind. A rarity in the autistic world, Tammet is able to live a fully independent life and explain what happens inside his head. From mastering a foreign language over the span of a single week, to reciting more than 22,000 digits of pi, Tammet’s abilities are truly extraordinary. 

Oxygen by Carol Cassella

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: Real-life anesthesiologist Carol Cassella gives a riveting fictional account of the life of a physician, Dr. Marie Heaton, who faces a malpractice suit. A hard working, devoted anesthesiologist, Marie struggles to salvage her career and reputation after an operating room disaster. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: At the young age of 36, Paul Kalanithi was nearing completion of his decade long training to become a neurosurgeon. Then, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. As the physician turned patient battled his disease, he sought to answer one of life’s toughest questions, “What makes life worth living?”.

The Angina Monologues by Rosamund Kendal

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: I just had to include this book on the summer reading list because the title alone made me laugh out loud. Rosamund Kendal’s The Angina Monologues, follows three medical interns as they work in a rural South African hospital coping with snakes, gangs, and the public’s denial of AIDS. 

The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: International bestselling author Katharine McMahon gives the fictional account of Rosa Barr, a woman who travels to Crimea to join Florence Nightingale’s nursing corps. When she does not return, Rosa’s brother, lover, and cousin, must come together to find the missing nurse. 

We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth Norman

Summary that Won’t Give Away the Ending: The Philippines was a paradise for Army and Navy nurses stationed there during WWII. The scenery was beautiful, life was easy, and the war seemed distant. Until, the day everything changed. On December 8, 1941, Japanese bombs rained down on the islands forcing nurses to set up field hospitals in nearby jungles. There, they cared for soldiers with devastating injuries of war. Another historical nursing must-read, Norman’s We Band of Angels, tells the story with letters, diaries, and firsthand accounts. 

What’s on your reading list this summer?

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