RX something interesting
September 22, 2008 12:46 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to get more excited about healthcare/medicine. What should I read?

I decided, after about 7 years of thinking about it, to go to nursing school (probably an NP program). Right now I'm taking prerequisites and waiting till the program starts up next May. I'd like to read more about medicine, interesting and inspirational stuff. I'm rereading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, which I love. And read Mountains Beyond Mountains a couple of times in the past, and loved that too.

What else is good to read? It doesn't have to be third worldly, I'm just interested in reading stuff that's accessible to a (currently) layman. Is there a magazine or journal that would be interesting reading too?
posted by sully75 to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed Sherwin Nuland's How We Die, and I'm also liking How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman. For thoughts on interesting medical cases and how the medical establishment could improve, I've really enjoyed several books by Atul Gawande. He also writes occasionally for the New Yorker, where you can read his archived stuff.

I've also found a number of interesting blogs by nurses by searching google and some blog-rating type sites, but those are more specific to the field I'm interested in. I bet you could find some good NP blogs if you're willing to dig a bit.
posted by vytae at 1:03 PM on September 22, 2008

You loved Mountains Beyond Mountains--have you read any of Paul Farmer's own books? Layman friends have told me very good things about Infections and Inequalities and Pathologies of Power.
posted by hippugeek at 1:18 PM on September 22, 2008

Nursing Against the Odds by Susanne Gordon is required reading for anyone going into nursing as a career.

Good luck in school! If you're like me, it'll be a thousand times tougher than you expect and and exponentially more rewarding than you could dream.
posted by jesourie at 2:06 PM on September 22, 2008

I'm not sure it's exactly what you're looking for, but Atul Gawande is not only the best writer on medicine that I know of, he's one of the best writers period.
posted by callmejay at 2:14 PM on September 22, 2008

House of God. Despite the fact that it is > 30 years old, the fundamental properties of physicians described in this parody still hold true. Plus it's really dark and funny.
posted by scblackman at 2:19 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I came in here to suggest Atul Gawande. He's amazing.
posted by MadamM at 4:58 PM on September 22, 2008

Some that I've read recently

Rita Charon, Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness
Pauline Chen, Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
Abraham Verghese, My Own Country
and echoing others, Atul Gawande
posted by palionex at 6:04 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

The essays of Lewis Thomas, which are collected in 3 or 4 books, were the primary influence that put me into medicine (I was a physics major). Start with The Lives of a Cell.

Oliver Sacks's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, is a wonderful collection of neurological cases.
posted by neuron at 10:42 PM on September 23, 2008

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