The 10 Best Medical Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Medical Textbooks

This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in February of 2019. Anyone planning on entering the medical field should be aware there's going to be reading involved — a lot of reading. These textbooks cover a variety of disciplines and focuses, and we've chosen editions that break down advanced concepts into easy-to-comprehend chunks, allowing you to rapidly absorb the information and put it to practical use. You'll find options for many levels of study, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment

2. Nursing Drug Handbook

3. Pathophysiology of Heart Disease

Editor's Notes

December 02, 2020:

Any medical field will have textbooks that require constant updating as research and development continue to make strides, so our first priority was to ensure every title on this list was in the most current edition. That meant updating basically every selection here save Medical Terminology, which is still widely useful even if it's from about two years ago.

Because we had both Pathophysiology of Heart Disease and Braunwald's Heart Disease, we wanted to eliminate one to make the most use of our list by bringing in another focus. So we said goodbye to Braunwald's text, as Pathophysiology of Heart Disease is lauded and loved by students everywhere for its narrative style and bevy of useful features. Joining the ranks is the critical Nursing Drug Handbook, an extremely comprehensive and up to date guide for nurses, other clinicians, and anyone interested in pharmacology. Not only does it cover common and uncommonly used drugs, but it also goes over vitamins, minerals, drug abuse, vaccines, adverse reactions, and more, and includes black box warnings to draw attention to safety issues.

We added Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy, a must-have book that rivals many anatomy books, according to a plethora of medical professionals. While it doesn't have pictures of actual cadavers, it's packed with beautifully rendered illustrations by an artist-physician that help showcase the body region by region in a clear and easily understood way. There's also a version that's printed as a coloring book for students who want to reinforce what they're learning via a more hands-on method.

February 28, 2019:

Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment earned a top spot because it's the title most likely to be useful to the widest range of users. Everyone from first-year students to practicing clinicians is likely to find it helpful. We've included books that we feel are the definitive look at their respective field of study, such as Murray & Nadel's Respiratory Medicine and Williams Endocrinology; those tomes are likely to be as useful for students of other disciplines who just want an overview of the subject as they are for dedicated practitioners. Similarly, there are other editions on this list, such as Medical-Surgical Nursing, which are designed to provide students with a broader look at the medical field rather than dialing in on a specific ailment or body system.

Special Honors

Human Anatomy Atlas For medical professionals, students, and enthusiasts, this handy app from Visible Body is one of the most comprehensive human anatomy atlases available. It includes complete male and female gross anatomy models that can be dissected, with common muscle actions, select microanatomy models, and sample animations. It offers thousands of models to help users understand and communicate how the human body looks and works, and provides textbook-level definitions.

Davis's Drug Guide Davis’s Drug Guide delivers extremely up-to-date and reliable drug information, including over 1,700 monographs that cover 5,000 trade name and generic medicines, audio pronunciations, pill images to visually confirm drug forms, FDA updates, safety alerts, risk evaluation, and much more. There are several subscription plans to suit varying needs.

4. Guyton and Hall Medical Physiology

5. Murray & Nadel's Respiratory Medicine

6. Williams Endocrinology

7. Medical-Surgical Nursing

8. Medical Terminology

9. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases

10. Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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