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Nursing: Reference Books
Background Information

Getting Started

Reference books are useful for finding a brief overview of a topic, or for definitions, drug information, and other quick facts. They may also refer to related books, articles, documents, and other useful sources.

Many medical and nursing reference books are updated annually or every few years. Always make sure that you have the most recent information available. Also keep in mind that some books are written for health care professionals and others for patients and health consumers.

Where are the nursing reference books in my library?

In the Dewey Decimal system, most nursing, medical, & health books are in the 610-619 area. Health-related social issues are in 362 with the social sciences (300s).

Libraries have separate sections for reference books, which may be used only in the library, and stacks, or circulating books, which may be checked out.

Reserve books are another category - these are placed on reserve by the faculty or department. Most reserve books are textbooks, and can be checked out from the circulation desk for short time periods and/or library use only. 

Dictionaries for Nursing

Dictionaries define words and terms. Medical dictionaries often function as miniature medical encyclopedias, and may include a brief list of symptoms, charts, anatomical illustrations, pathology, diagnosis, and patient care considerations in addition to definitions. Some medical dictionaries focus specifically on nursing and allied health terms. Here are some examples:

Encyclopedias for Nursing

Encyclopedias provide a basic understanding or overview of entries. Subject encyclopedias for Nursing include:

Online Reference Databases

To connect from off-campus, you will need to log in using your College ID number (starts with "A") with ST at the end. 

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000