6 must-read books for the travel nursing bookworm

Woman resting by tree with book in lap, smiling

4m 30s minute read

Did you know reading a book can help you live longer? Just one chapter a day, according to the National Library of Medicine, can maximise your longevity by about 20 per cent 

Immersing yourself in another world can bring a multitude of benefits to your cognitive health and many other facets of your life like stress reduction! 

You’re here because you have an intention to read more books on your next stint and expand the vocabulary library. Whatever your preference is, Affinity nurses share their top books all travel nurses should read and are guaranteed to love. 

Non-fiction books for travel nurses and midwives

From RN Louise – Put Your Feet in the Dirt, Girl: A memoir by Sonia Henry 

What it’s about: From city girl to rural General Practitioner, Sonia Henry recounts her years from being a hard-partying medical intern from Sydney and transitioning into a dust-covered GP in the Pilbara Region in WA.  

Why we love it: There is no sugarcoating of her unique personal and professional development. It captures contrasting positive and challenging experiences of being out bush. 

Perfect if you enjoy: Memoirs, or reading about a real healthcare worker’s transition from metro to rural locations. 

From RN Cathrina – When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi 

What it’s about: Late neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi who, after a decade of training as a neurosurgeon saving lives, found himself as the patient of stage IV lung cancer. He pondered questions of life and death, reflecting on the relationship between healthcare worker and patient. 

Why we love it: It reflects on the boundaries of being a healthcare worker and being a patient, balancing empathy and logic. This is a touching piece that affirms mortality, maintaining the fact of patients being end users. It’s less about dying and more about being alive.

Perfect if you enjoy: Touching and philosophical autobiographies that encourage you to zoom out and appreciate the complexities of life.

From RN Cindy – Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey 

What it’s about: Alright alright alright, we know you read that in Matthew’s voice. This read hones in on the cut-throat nature of entertainment and takes you on a different kind of journey to reaching your aspirations through a world outside of academics. It’s the discovery of identity and control for Matthew, who steered his way through life learning how to turn yellow and red lights into greenlights.

Why we love it: The intense journey through his childhood, all the way to his 50s with family photos and notes within the book, gives you a closer glimpse into the trials and tribulations of his life.

Perfect if you enjoy: Unconventional wisdom

Novels for travel nurses and midwives

You’ve done your shifts, or it’s your day off and you’re in your caravan or sitting by the beach. Now it’s time to escape into a fictional world, and splash your brain with colour by diving into the pages of these novels.

RN Leesa – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

What it’s about: Kya Clark, a young, isolated, barefoot girl, is suspected of the death of popular Chase Andrews. Being known as the mystery of the “Marsh Girl” who haunts Barkley Cove, she opens her life up to new people and environments. 

Why we love it: It’s a reminder of how our childhoods and upbringing shape our futures, with the age-old debate of nature vs nurture at play.

Perfect if you enjoy: Murder-mystery

RN Susan – Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton

What it’s about: From the same author as Boy Swallows Universe, Lola in the Mirror is another Aussie-based story in Brisbane about a girl and her mother running from police for 16 years. They change their names at every place they are in, but there is one person this young girl with no name must find. The name is Lola. 

Why we love it: Katie (Recruitment Team): “I met Trent Dalton at my volunteering role. I loved how relatable the book was especially in regard to Brisbane and more specifically the shelter I worked at.” 

It’s a captivating glimpse into the aftermath of being in an unsafe home. The search for self-discovery, confrontation, and choices between family, friendships, and identity sucks you into their world.

Perfect if you enjoy: Crime fiction

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus 

What it’s about: Challenging the status quo of women in the early 1960s, Elizabeth Zott is the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. After a series of unpredictable life events, she finds herself as the next host of cooking show Supper at Six. She wasn’t just teaching women how to cook, but how to challenge the bias of women.

Why we love it: The confidence to go against the grain and create a new era for society, sprinkled with humour and vibrance. 

Perfect if you enjoy: Historical fiction or feminism 

Make sure you pick up these reads on your next travel nursing trip! 

On the topic of further reading, if you need to gain CPD hours, you can do so through Affinity Clinical Education. Check out our articles for nurses and midwives here.  

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