Recommended PA Books
Here you’ll find almost every book and tool I have found useful and resources recommended to me by PA colleagues and students!
Feel free to contact me if you have suggestions to add to this list.
Medical Equipment for PA School
At most you require a stethoscope. Take advantage of student discounts that may be available through your school. The 3M Littman is the standard purchased by my class of PAs and from what I’ve seen from subsequent PA classes. Other equipment like a blood pressure cuff, ophthalmoscope and otoscope are available to borrow from the program to practice, and you are not required to buy them. However if you would like your own set, what is listed above is what I’ve seen used at Canadian practices.
Books for the Didactic 1st Year of PA School
These are books that are helpful for your 1st year of PA school, where you learn the medical foundation and acquire basic clinical skills.
Test Review Books
- Essential Med Notes (a.k.a. Toronto Notes) – key points of common conditions in different areas of medicine, structured for test review & quick reference during rotations. Includes Relevant Anatomy, Pathophys, Signs and Symptoms, Investigations & Treatment for each condition. With helpful diagrams, organized by area of medicine. When approaching a new topic in class, I would usually start with reading a textbook, then use Toronto Notes to reinforce key points what I learned.
Anatomy & Physiology
- Tortora’s Principles of Anatomy & Physiology – A favourite of the McMaster MD program & undergraduate anatomy courses. Visual anatomy & physiology with basic principles covering multiple organ systems. I used this in undergrad and throughout PA school.
- Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy
- Costanzo’s Physiology – Overview of the principles behind physiologic processes covering multiple organ systems that you use throughout didactic year.
- The Anatomy Coloring Book
Books for 2nd Year Clinical Clerkship
Based on resources most commonly used by Canadian PA students and medical students during clinical clerkship rotations.
- RxFiles Drug Comparison Chart – A handy flip chart that organized medications by category and in tables. Based on Canadian names & prices.
- Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopeia – Organized by Category, with dosages based on indication and side effects. Great flip through pocket book for clinical rotations & observerships.
- Interview Guide For Evaluating DSM-5 Psychiatric Disorders & the Mental Status Examination – Pocket sized book you can carry around with you on rotations, with strategic interview questions & review guide to help you through your psych rotation based on DSM 5 criteria.
- Case Files: Internal Medicine
- Harrison’s Manual of Medicine
- Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine
- Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics
- Compendium of Therapeutic Choices – comprehensive, good for anyone considering Internal Medicine as a career
- “Handbook of Neurosurgery” by Greenburg (this is very comprehensive and best reserved for people interested in pursuing neurosurgery as a career)
- “Neurosurgery for Basic Surgical Trainees” by W.A.Leibenberg & R.D. Johnson helpful
- “High-Yield Neuroanatomy” by Lippincott, Willians & Wilkins
- “Internal Medicine Residency Training Program Resident Survival Guide” (“the red book”). This is always helpful for inpatient management for overall medical management
- “Toronto Notes” (neurosurgery section)
Recommendations from Tracy Watson, Neurosurgery PA.
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