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Public Health

Use this guide to find information resources about public health including books, reports and journal articles.

Last updated: 01/02/2024


RCN: COVID-19 (coronovirus)
Gould D and Purssell E (2021) RCN Independent review of guidelines for the prevention and control of Covid-19 in health care settings in the United Kingdom: evaluation and messages for future infection-related emergency planning. London: RCN.
Book cover Marmot M, Allen J, Goldblatt P, Herd E and Morrison J (2020) Build back fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot Review. London: The Health Foundation. 

Key Resources

Book cover Royal College of Nursing (2021) Leaving no-one behind: the role of the nursing profession in achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals in the UK. London: RCN. 
The National Archives. Healthcare Commission: outbreaks of Clostridium difficile.
  • Healthcare Commission investigations of major outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at NHS trusts, including findings and recommendations.
    View page
Public Health England (2015) All our health: personalised care and population health: a framework of evidence to guide health professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing. Updated 2023.
Royal College of Nursing (2020) RCN issue briefing: update on changes to the public health system in England. London: RCN. 
Nurses 4 public health: promote, prevent and protect. The value and contribution of nursing to public health in the UK. Royal College of Nursing (2016) Nurses 4 public health: promote, prevent and protect. The value and contribution of nursing to public health in the UK: final report. London: RCN.
Royal College of Nursing (2019) Public health in England. London: RCN.
Gould D, Gallagher R, Chudleigh J, Pursell E and Hawker C (2020) Understanding aseptic technique: an RCN investigation into clinician views to guide the practice of aseptic technique. London: RCN.
Health Foundation (2017) Healthy lives for people in the UK: introducing the Health Foundation’s healthy lives strategy. London: Health Foundation. 
Health Foundation:  A collection of Healthy Lives publications looking at the social determinants of health, public health and inequalities.
The Health Foundation (2018) The nation’s health as an asset. London: Health Foundation.
Hibbard J and Gilburt H (2014) Supporting people to manage their health: an introduction to patient activation. London: King’s Fund.
Marmot M (2010) Fair society, healthy lives: the Marmot Review. London: The Marmot Review.
Marmot M, Allen J, Boyce T, Goldblatt P and Morrison J (2020) Health equity in England. The Marmot review 10 years on. London: The Institute of Health Equity.
Public Health England (2018) All our health: about the framework. London: PHE.
Public Health England (2016) The public health skills and knowledge framework (PHSKF). London: PHE.
Townsend P (1988) Inequalities in health: the Black Report and the Health Divide. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
We would like to thank the RCN Public Health member community for their input into the development of this subject guide.

Public Health

Book cover Aschengrau A and Seage G (2018) Essentials of epidemiology in public health. 4th edn. London: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Book cover Bambra C, Lynch L, Smith K E and Pickett K (2021) The unequal pandemic: COVID-19 and health inequalities. Bristol: Policy Press. 
Book cover Illich I (1995) Limits to medicine medical nemesis: the expropriation of health. 2nd edn. London: Marion Boyers.
Book cover Marmot M (2015) The health gap: the challenge of an unequal world. London: Bloomsbury.
Book cover Nettleton S (2021) The sociology of health and illness. 4th edn. Cambridge, UK: Polity. 
Book cover Birkhead G, Morrow C and Pirani S (2020) Essentials of public health. London: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Book cover Coggon J (2012) What makes health public?: A critical evaluation of moral, legal and political claims in public health. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Davies S and Pearson-Stuttard J (2020) Whose health is it anyway? Oxford: Oxford University Press
Book cover DeMarco R and Healey-Walsh J (2020) Community and public health nursing: evidence for practice. 3rd edn. London: Wolters Kluwer.
Book cover Donaldson L (2017) Donaldsons’ essential public health. 4th edn. London: CRC Press.
Book cover Friis R and Sellers T (2020) Epidemiology for public health practice. 6th edn. London: Jones & Bartlett Learning.   
Book cover Gilliam S, Yates J and Badrinath P (2012) Essential public health: theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Book cover Kawachi I, Lang I and Ricciardi W (2020) Oxford handbook of public health practice. 4th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.   
Book cover Matheson J, Patterson J and Neilson L (2020) Tackling causes and consequences of health inequalities: a practical guide. Milton: CRC Press.
Book cover Sim F and Wright J (2015) Working in public health: an introduction to careers in public health. Abigdon: Routledge.
Book cover Stanhope M and Lancaster J (2020) Public health nursing: population-centred health care in the community. London: Elsevier.
Book cover Thompson S (2014) The essential guide to public health and health promotion. Abingdon: Routledge.
Book cover Webb P, Bain C and Page A (2020) Essential epidemiology: an introduction for students and health professionals. 4th edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Book cover Gorin S (2014) Prevention practice in primary care. New York: Oxford University Press.
Book cover Larkin M (2011) Social aspects of health and illness and healthcare. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Book cover Matheson J, Paterson J and Neilson L (2020) Tackling causes and consequences of health inequalities: a practical guide. London: CRC Press.
Book cover Upton D and Thirlaway K (2014) Promoting healthy behaviour: a practical guide. Harlow: Pearson.


Book cover Bowie P and De Wet C (2014) Safety and improvement in primary care: the essential guide. London: Radcliffe Publishing.
Book cover Hammond M (2020) Epidemics and the modern world. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Book cover Hawker J, Begg N and Reintjes R et al. (2019) Communicable disease control and health protection handbook. 4th edn. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Book cover Veenema T (2019) Disaster nursing and emergency preparedness. 4th edn. New York: Springer.
Book cover Washer P (2014) Emerging infectious diseases and society. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Book cover Bensley R and Brookins-Fisher J (2018) Community and public health education methods: a practical guide. 4th edn. London: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Book cover Evans D, Coutsaftiki D and Fathers C (2017) Health promotion and public health for nursing students. 3rd edn. London: Learning Matters.
Book cover Green J and others (2019) Health promotion: planning and strategies. 4th edn. London: Sage.
Book cover Kemm J (2015) Health promotion: ideology, discipline and specialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Book cover Linsley P and Roll C (2023) Health promotion for nursing students. 2nd edn. London: Learning Matters.
Book cover Naidoo J (2016) Foundations for health promotion. 4th edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Book cover Palfrey C (2018) The future for health promotion. London: Polity Press.
Book cover Robinson S (2021) Priorities for health promotion and public health: explaining the evidence for disease prevention and health promotion. London: Routledge.
Book cover Taylor J, O’Hara L, Talbot L and Verinder G (2021) Promoting health: the primary health care approach. 7th edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Book cover Wild K and McGrath M (2019) Public health and health promotion for nurses at a glance. London: Wiley Blackwell.
Book cover Wills J (2022) Foundations for health promotion. 5th edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Book cover Wilson F, Mabhala M and Massey A (2015) Health improvement and well-being: strategies for action. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Book subject searches

Events and Exhibitions

Book cover RCN exhibition: A healthful form of work, the history of public health nursing
  • Public health nursing has its origins in the 1800s with the rise of social reform and efforts to improve the health of the poorest in society. This exhibition highlighted the development of public health nursing and the roles nurses have played in improving public health from the 19th century to the present day. From vaccination programmes and health visiting to sanitary and welfare reform.
    View online exhibition

RCN Podcasts

Past Caring: Public health

Nursing history

Book cover Freeman M, Gordon E, Maglen K and Crowther M A (2011) Medicine, law and public policy in Scotland: c. 1850-1990. Dundee: Edinburgh University Press.
Book cover Honigsbaum M (2014) A history of the great influenza pandemics: death, panic and hysteria, 1830-1920. London: I.B. Tauris.
Book cover Honigsbaum M (2019) The pandemic century: one hundred years of panic, hysteria and hubris. London: Hurst and Company. 
Book cover Stewart J (2017) Pioneers in public health: lessons from history. London: Routledge.

Upcoming events relating to this subject guide

Page last updated - 01/02/2024