10 Books Celebrating Nurses & Midwives – World Health Day 2020


Since 1950, World Health Day has celebrated the role of medical professionals in our lives, promoting healthcare for all, and serving to bring awareness to important healthcare issues around the world.

This year, the WHO has chosen to specifically recognize nurses and midwives:

This World Health Day, we honor the contribution of nurses and midwives, recognizing their vital role in keeping the world healthy. Nurses and other health workers are at the frontlines of COVID-19 response, putting their own health at risk to protect the broader community. Comprising more than two-thirds of the health workforce in the WHO Western Pacific Region, nurses are critical in responding to health needs in all settings and across the lifespan. In the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the World Health Day is an opportunity to highlight the work of nursing and midwifery around the world, while celebrating this workforce as one of the most valuable resources of every country.

With the global health crisis we are all currently facing, World Health Day seems particularly important to recognize this year. Nurses and midwives, as well as everybody else working in the healthcare industry, are putting themselves in a dangerous situation to ensure that the rest of us stay healthy and to take care of those of us who are ill.


Today I wanted to highlight ten books that focus on the lives of midwives and nurses. I’d also like to say a personal thank you to everyone who is currently working in all aspects of medicine and their role in making the world safer. We quite literally couldn’t do this without you.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife Jennifer Worth.jpg

Part of a trilogy, midwife Jennifer Worth details her experiences training to become a midwife in London in the 1950s. She also discusses the retched living conditions that poverty-stricken Londoners had to deal with.

Becoming Nursey by Kati Kleber

Becoming Nursey Kati Kleber.jpg

Aimed at new nurses, this book full of anecdotes and practical advice is a must-read for anyone entering the field. It also gives non-nurses a look at what these medical professionals have to deal with on a daily basis.

Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent

Baby Catcher Peggy Vincent.jpg

Peggy Vincent’s memoir is a collection of birth stories from her years working as a midwife. It’s also a critique of technological hospital births.

The Shift by Theresa Brown

The Shift Theresa Brown.jpg

This book sounds fascinating. Brown details a single day in her life in a hospital’s cancer ward. It doesn’t sound like a light read but it is an important book that sheds light on what it’s like to be a nurse.

Bed Number 10 by Sue Baier & Mary Zimmeth Schomaker

Bed Number 10 Sue Baier Mary Zimmeth Schomaker.jpg

This book is a little different from the rest. Told through the eyes of a paralyzed patient who is suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, this non-fiction book shows nurses and doctors through the eyes of the patient.


Woman of Valor by Stephen B. Oates

Woman of Valor Stephen B Oates.jpg

Let’s not forget that nursing is a profession that’s been around for centuries, and has always served an important role. In Oates’ biography of Clara Barton, he details the story of this incredible woman who volunteered to work as a field-medic in a notoriously bloody war.

Nursing Against the Odds by Suzanne Gordon

Nursing against the odds suzanne gordon.jpg

One aspect of the medical community that the COVID-19 pandemic is making clear is that nurses and other medical professionals must have access to the life-saving materials that allow them to do their job. This book was published in 2005, but medical facilities in the United States are still facing these same problems.

A Healing Touch by Richard Russo

A Healing Touch Richard Russo.jpg

The tagline of this non-fiction book, True Stories of Life, Death, and Hospice, says everything it needs to. It’s difficult for yourself or a loved one to be placed in hospice and Russo, along with five other writers, discuss the importance of this service.

I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out edited by Lee Gutkind

I wasn't strong like this when i started lee gutkind.jpg

A collection of real-life accounts, this book shares the stories of nurses throughout their careers. If you want a comprehensive view of what being a nurse is like, this might be your best choice.

Cooked by Carol Karels

Cooked Carol Karles.jpg

Some hospitals are much harder to work in than others, as detailed by Carol Karels’ memoir about working in Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. This hospital was notorious for handling patients who were members of gangs and victims of gang violence, as well as dealing with few resources and a community plagued by drugs.

If you know of any books that should be included on this list, leave the titles down in the comments!

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