Studying medicine may be a lot harder than most other degrees, but it is also rewarding in many ways. It gives you the chance to make a difference in society and in other people’s lives.
Studying medicine also offers a wide range of career options, like working with the armed forces, an international charity, medical journalism, public health etc.
Bottom line is, being a medical student involves working harder than ever. There is a reasonable amount of pressure to become competent in the field. So, if you’re a doctor, a medical student or are aiming to be one, we have compiled a list of books that fall under the ‘must- read’ category.
The House of God (Samuel Shem)
This is a mesmerizing novel about Roy Basch and five of his fellow interns at one of the most renowned teaching hospitals in the country.
Basch and his fellow interns are under the leadership of their rule- breaking senior resident known only as the Fat Man, and struggle with gruellingly long hours and sudden life and death responsibilities. They must learn not only to be fine doctors, but also nice human beings.
This book is an uncensored and unglorified portrait of what training to become a doctor is like, in all its terror and black comedy. This book has been regarded as one of the most important medical novels ever. It is well written, fun to read and gives a very interesting perspective about an intern’s life.
Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (Jameson, Fauci, Kasper, Hauser, Longo, Loscalzo)
This book is a definitive guide to internal medicine, with the latest in disease mechanisms, updated clinical trial results and recommended guidelines, state of the art radiographic images, therapeutic approaches and specific treatments.
It also has hundreds of demonstrative full colour drawings and practical clinical decision trees and algorithms.
It covers many of the new breakthroughs and advances in clinical medicine that have occurred till date. It focuses on pathophysiology with rigour and with linking disease mechanisms to treatments. It will help you understand how diseases develop and get progress and will improve retention. It covers a wide range of new and emerging areas of vital interest to all healthcare professionals.
Lastly, it has updated clinical guidelines, expert opinions and treatment approaches from renowned medical practitioners and contributes to the accuracy of the text.
Atlas of Human Anatomy (Frank H. Netter, Md)
This book presents a depiction of the human body in clear and brilliant detail. It emphasizes on anatomic relationships and clinically relevant news and provides a coherent, lasting visual vocabulary for understanding anatomy and how it applies to medicine today.
It contains hundreds of hand- painted illustrations. It explores the unique perspective of difficult to visualize anatomy through new paintings by Dr Carlos Machado. It will help you master challenging structures with visual region- by- region coverage and includes muscle table appendices at the end of each section. It also includes a list of interactive tools and guides, as well as self- testing exercises, dissection videos, multiple choice questions, illustrated axial cross- sections etc.
Overall, an excellent book for anyone studying anatomy and is the best for visual learners.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (Atul Gawande)
This book explains how medicine has transformed birth, injury and infectious diseases from harrowing to manageable.
The author, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation- arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. The inevitable condition of ageing and death counter the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients to railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the treatment stops working. He offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and examines the ways in which a patient’s last days can be rich and dignified.
Full of eye- opening research and riveting storytelling, it emphasizes on the fact that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Siddhartha Mukherjee)
This is a profoundly mundane biography of cancer- from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control and conquer it.
The author- a physician, researcher and award- winning science writer, examines cancer with extreme precision and a historian’s perspective. This book is an astonishingly eloquent record of a disease that humans have lived with and died from, for more than five thousand years. It is a story of human ingenuity, resilience and perseverance. The author recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and deaths. The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.
The book is riveting, urgent and surprising and provides a glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is illuminating and provides hope and clarity to those seeking to learn more about the disease.
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (Robert S. Porter, Md)
This book is packed with essential information on diagnosing and treating medical disorders. It is intended for everyday use by healthcare professionals for delivery of the best care to their patients.
It contains 16 pages of full- colour visual aids for recognition of skin, eye and oral disorders. It also contains key points that summarize all the facts. It is comprehensive in its coverage of diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of diseases and contains the latest research results on the treatment options. It makes it easy to find the right information at the right time. It is a must- read for medical students, residents, practicing physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.
Robbin’s Basic Pathology (Vinay Kumar, Abdul K. Abbas, Jon C. Aster)
This book provides a well- illustrated and concise overview of the principles of human pathology that is ideal for today’s busy students.
It strongly emphasizes on pathogenesis and clinical features of a disease, adding new artwork and more schematic diagrams to further help in summarizing key pathologic processes. It boasts of high- quality photomicrographs, gross photos and radiologic images to supplement the excellent illustrations. It contains summary boxes that provide easy and quick access to key information and will help you easily review the key concepts. It focuses on pathogenesis, morphology and pathopsychological concepts.
It also includes a student consult eBook version. It allows you to search all figures, text and images from the book on a variety of devices. You will also have access to virtual microscope slides, self- assessment questions, additional images, pathology case studies and targeted therapy boxes.
Step- up to Medicine (Steven S. Agabegi, Elizabeth Agabegi)
This book will act as your lifeline for the clinical years in medical school. It boils down the full scope of tested pathology in a single ingenious tool.
Each element is tailored for immediate content absorption. An all- new, full colour interior differentiate elements for a faster and more efficient review. The full- colour, updated design brings the content to you in a way that you remember it all. It has illustrations for all the concepts and also for supplement topics. New content on evidence- based medicine keeps you informed to guide your clinical decision- making. It also has expanded content on drug- dosing wherever relevant. It provides complete coverage of high- yield medical topics to keep you test- ready.
It also contains an eBook with fully searchable text. Whether you are professor or a student, this book will make for a great reference.
Cope’s Early Diagnosis of the Acute Abdomen (William Silen)
This book is full of clinical wisdom that students and practitioners treasure, and many of these lessons apply to medicine in general. It is the classic treatise on the initial approach to abdominal pain.
Misdiagnosis of abdominal pain can result in quick death, and each generation of beginning physicians is faced with the urgency of learning to make a diagnosis in this high- anxiety situation. It also has an
added chapter on the increasing disorder of diverticulitis. It re-examines the use of analgesics, emphasizes the costs of over- testing and updates all recommendations regarding trauma, radiologic studies and therapeutic recommendations. It gives a breakdown of the various causes of abdominal pain. It is also a guiding tool to perform a thorough yet time and cost- effective differential diagnosis.
It is effective for practicing surgeons as well as those training to be surgeons.
Fundamentals of Pathology (Hussain A. Sattar)
This book is a high- yield outline format covering all major topics in pathology. It is an integrated review with key concepts from associated disciplines.
It is perfect for course examinations and board review. It focuses on high- yield and tested material and contains 350 high quality, full colour images. It is a must- have if you are opting for pathology in medical school. This book is intended as a review for students during their pre- clinical years and while preparing for examinations, such as USMLE. Ample space is provided for students to take notes during course study and while viewing the online videos that cover each section of the text.
It emphasizes concepts and principles over random facts. It is perfect for medical students as well as for those teaching it.
Thieme Atlas of Human Anatomy- General Anatomy and Musculoskeletal System (Michael Schuenke, Erik Schulte, Udo Schumacher, Lawrence M. Ross, Edward D. Lamperti, Markus Voll)
This book is filled with anatomical illustrations of great accuracy and appropriately labelled. It contains everything the students need to successfully tackle the daunting challenges of anatomy.
Complete with full colour illustrations, it is organized to lead students step- by- step through each region of the body. Each region opens with the foundational skeletal framework. The subsequent chapters build upon this foundation, adding the muscles and then organs, vessels, nerves and finally presenting topographic anatomy for a comprehensive view. Each unit closes with surface anatomy accompanied by questions that ask the reader to apply what they learned for real life physical examinations of patients. It has 2200 coloured illustrations with excellent quality.
It also has brief introductory texts that provide an accessible entry point when a new topic is presented. It correlates images, including radiographs, MRIs, CT scans, and endoscopic views. It also has muscle fact pages that include origin, insertion and innervation, which is ideal for memorization, reference and review. It provides everything students need in the perfect format, making the mastery of human anatomy achievable.
Medical Law and Ethics (Bonnie F. Fremgen)
This book is written especially for health professionals of all kinds, and not for lawyers. It covers the full spectrum of topics that affect medical practice.
Its fully updated coverage includes the legal system professional liability and medical malpractice, physician’s responsibilities, medical records, ethical and bioethical issues, and current regulations. It contains
actual legal cases with subjects ranging from patient confidentiality and abortion to death and dying. Med Tips provide quick real- world scenarios and guidance about law and ethics. Each chapter contains glossary terms, exercises, and an actual case. Appendices provide current sample codes of ethics.
Overall, it is a simple book explaining the laws of medicine, with interesting law and malpractice cases. It has some very useful insights and case studies which explain how the law works.
Human Physiology (Dee Unglaub Silverthorn)
This book thoroughly covers molecular physiology seamlessly integrated into a traditional homeostasis-based systems approach. Within its structured environment, students receive hints and wrong-answer feedback to practice what they learn, test their understanding, help them better absorb course material, and grasp difficult concepts. It is also available with MasteringA&P which is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with the book to engage students and improve results.
It is written in a way that it is very easily understood and the layout is visually stimulating. The concepts are well explained, and it is a must- read for medical students.
Textbook of Physical Diagnosis (Mark H. Swartz)
The book employs a compassionate, humanistic approach, and explores how cultural differences can influence communication, diet, family relationships, and health practices and beliefs.
It demonstrates that your interpersonal awareness is just as essential in physical diagnosis as your level of technical skill. This book features numerous high-quality and coloured images, an easy-to-use design, and detailed descriptions of exam techniques. It will help you learn about special considerations related to a patient’s unique situations, such as cultural differences, nutritional status, and overall health, which may affect your approach to their treatment. It will also help you understand the causes of the symptoms you encounter with pathophysiology explanations. You can view examination techniques and clinical presentations clearly with the high-quality images, over 900 photographs, and line art that supplements the detailed text.
All these features make it an essential guide for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
Pharmacology (Richard A. Harvey, Michelle A. Clark, Richard Finkel, Jose A. Rey, Karen Whalen)
This book enables you to rapidly review and assimilate the complex information and focuses on the essentials of medical pharmacology.
It features clear, sequential pictures to present mechanisms of action and actually show, students how drugs work. It also features a signature outline format with more than 500 fully coloured illustrations and cross-references to other volumes. It is especially a great book for any 1st or 2nd year medical student. It is easy to read and follow. It also contains end of chapter questions. It also has a number of case studies. It focuses more on the drugs themselves and has just enough additional information for you to get a well- grounded understanding of the different drug groups.
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary for the Health Professionals and Nursing (Stedman)
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary is the most reliable resource available for healthcare, including medical students, physicians, educators, researchers, and medical language specialists.
It includes more than 107,000 terms and definitions.
More than 45 consultants from all the major medical and health science specialties have reviewed each word for accuracy and clarity, including new consultants for the specialties of endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, and rheumatology.
This medical dictionary allows beginners on the path to medicine to develop their medical vocabulary.
It is quick, easy to use, and a must- have for all medical students and practitioners.