Reading! I’m getting too little of that done these days. Twenty days into the new year and I haven’t finished a book yet. I’ve made some recommendations of books for people in the health sciences to read, here and here, so today I add another list of great books relating to healthcare – for healthcare students, professionals or enthusiasts. (It’s Freebie Week with Top Ten Tuesday, which is a great gift as it is my birthday week!)
1. The Karma Suture by Rosamund Kendal (fiction)
This book is set in my medical school’s training hospital, but it is also really well-written and I just could not stop reading it. I also know that a lot of non-medical individuals have read and loved it too. The protagonist is a registrar/resident in Internal Medicine but her students, intern and friends also feature prominently. I highly recommend it.
Ideal time to read: any time, but third years might enjoy it especially
2. The Devil Wears Scrubs by Freida McFadden (fiction)
Starring: an Intern! I This one was hilarious and just all round worth it. The author is from the well known Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor, and she’s recently written another book (Suicide Med, a thriller of sorts) – which I haven’t read, but I’m sure it’s great too!
Ideal time to read: any time, any profession
3. The Patient Will See You Now by Eric Topol (non-fiction, technology)
I just recently reviewed this book (click above) so there really isn’t more for me to say – except that this is a bit more wordy and definitely non-fiction compared to the two above. Also, you should follow Topol on Twitter.
Ideal time to read: final year med school and up
4. Suburban Shaman by Cecil Helman (non-fiction, memoir)
This is a memoir by a South African doctor who spent much of his working life in the UK. I have some problems with this book but it is still one I highly recommend. If you think that seems weird – I know. I am still planning on writing a post about it to elaborate.
Ideal time to read: probably in the latter half of med school
5. Postmortem by Maria Phalime (non-fiction, investigative)
It doesn’t really matter if you think you agree or disagree with Phalime, because unless you’ve actually read her story you probably shouldn’t do either. I want healthcare students to read it because I think there are certain things they should know sooner rather than later – regardless of what their opinions are.
Ideal time to read: pre-med/ final year of high school/ any damn time
6. Seven Modern Plagues by Mark Jerome Walters (non-fiction, science)
Okay, so if you love infectious diseases this is right up your alley, but the book explains how ID is the domain of all doctors (and some other industries too). Not only that, but it reads really well and gives you a great point of reference for when you are in the wards.
Ideal time to read: first or second year med school
7. The Backwash of War by Ellen N. La Motte (non-fiction, short stories)
THIS BOOK YOU GUYS. It is absolutely heartbreaking and gorgeous. The writing is by a nurse who served in World War 1. Plus, if you don’t mind reading a digital copy, you can download it legally via The Gutenberg Project for free here.
Ideal time to read: probably any time. I would recommend re-reading it at different stages to see how your views vary.
8. Beauty’s Gift by Sindiwe Magona (fiction, chick-lit)
This book asks what happens when one member of a close-knit group of friends dies of HIV. It is a very different view of HIV than what we see in the hospitals, and so very necessary for maintaining empathy.
Ideal time to read: when you start losing empathy and you are tempted to blame patients for their illness.
9. Last Night I Dreamed of Peace by Dang Thuy Tram (non-fiction, history)
Being a newly qualified doctor in a rural war zone? That’s what this is.
Ideal time to read: when you are considering a career in rural medicine, or in a war zone!
10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (non-fiction, biography)
Suggestions for this book are a dime a dozen but I can’t not recommend it. It is the single most amazing medical biography that I have read – and it managed to teach me so much about biology, ethics and history.
Ideal time to read: second year med school, or while doing a class in biomedical ethics.