For the student on a budget!
So you’re looking for textbooks? Can’t believe how fucking expensive they are? Me neither! So what ones are worth getting? What ones are a waste of money?
The Cheapest Options
These are by far the cheapest options for digital books – they’re incredibly cheap. The A&P book is good to pick up no matter what, but the paramedic textbook isn’t really my first pick.
The Absolute Cheapest: Essentials of Paramedic Care. ($57 AUD)
This is the “baby Brady” book aimed at US paramedics. It’s somewhat outdated by modern standards (“Everybody gets O2! Everybody!“) and some of it has been stripped down compared to other textbooks, but by and large it’s still a fairly good book – and really cheap too. The fundamentals are all intact, but there are sections that are now significantly outdated, and there’s some things that are just plain omitted. If you can, I’d spend the money on the full Paramedic Care series (although it’s double the price).
A cheap A&P Textbook: Anatomy & Physiology for Emergency Care. (15 AUD)
Nope, not a typo! It really is just $15. It’s a happy middle road between texts that are too basic or too heavy. Good for reviewing basic concepts and getting a better grasp on anatomy and physiology. And for this price? Pretty much can’t be beaten. While I don’t think an A&P text is essential for every person, I’d say that this is cheap enough that you can pick it up without feeling too guilty if you don’t use it very often.
A Complete eBook Set
Bledsoe’s Paramedic Care series (also called the Brady books) is probably the best of the paramedic textbooks. While it’s not as easy to understand as Nancy Caroline’s Emergency Care in the Streets, it does go into more depth and provides much more information on a range of emergency conditions, which you may find more beneficial. However it’s not quite as friendly as Caroline when it comes to the basics, unless you read carefully. The Paramedic Care series is split up into a bunch of different books, but not all of them are useful. These are the ones I recommend from Amazon: Note that the title for a lot of these are actually wrong, but the photo of the ‘cover’ is the CORRECT title.
Paramedic Care vol 2: Paramedicine Fundamentals ($40.32 AUD) – Provides a good introduction to a bunch of important topics, including pathophysiology and pharmacology. Not as comprehensive as some other textbooks, but still essential for many concepts you’ll rely on in the other volumes. Also handles airway management, which is essential reading.
Paramedic Care Vol 3: Patient Assessment ($40.32 AUD) – Covers off on a host of patient assessment concepts, but also covers monitoring devices (like capnography) which is really important for you to get a good handle on. Does a really good job of explaining how to take vital signs. Honestly, parts of it are sort of confused, but it’s still an essential section to read though.
Paramedic Care Vol 4: Medicine ($11.70 AUD) – Covers all of the medical conditions you’re likely to encounter. Importantly, it contains a massive section on ECG interpretation – probably the best introductory material I’ve ever seen. If you read through it, you’ll be able to read basic 12 lead ECGs without many problems. You need this book.
Paramedic Care Vol 5: Trauma ($10.27 AUD) – Covers off on the various traumatic conditions as well as shock states. Another essential book.
Paramedic Care Vol 6: Special Patients ($40.32 AUD) – Mostly devoted to paediatrics and obstetrics, with a few other misc patient groups thrown in for good measure. Given that you need to learn how to manage obstetrics, I guess you’re stuck with having to read it!
Note that the other two volumes are of no real use to Australian students, don’t waste your money on them. Honestly, you can’t trim any of these books out; they’re all pretty essential to having a complete understanding of the job. But it does run to $144 AUD to purchase the whole lot; not an insignificant sum. Compared with the cheaper, smaller book above – this set is much more up to date, contains a lot more content, and is presented in a much better fashion. I’d strongly recommend getting this lot if you can – it’s better than the smaller book above.
Emergency and Trauma Care for Nurses and Paramedics ($112 AUD) – Not my favourite book, mostly because it’s a mess with its layout, and it’s far too focused on nursing and the hospital environment. A lot of its content is actually fairly decent, and it has a good theoretical background that the US paramedic textbooks lack, but it’s almost entirely silent on the fundamentals of prehospital care – because nurses don’t do that. Honestly, there’s better things to spend $112 on.
Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine ($83 AUD) – A really good, easy to understand book, aimed at post-grad medicine students, but could be read by pretty much any of the health disciplines. Australia’s answer to Tintinalli, and it does a pretty damn good job. I’d strongly recommend this book if you can afford it, because it’s that good. That said, there’s no coverage of the basics, nor of how to perform most procedures, so it doesn’t really replace a paramedic textbook.
If you can tolerate a physical book…
Nancy Caroline’s Emergency Care in the Streets – (Price varies) – The NC Books are probably my favourite paramedic texts. Not because they’re the best, but because they’re the best zero to hero books around. Anybody can read these and become a decent paramedic, and whatever shortcomings they have are often filled in by the degree or by a better book (like Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine). Two big downsides: they’re not cheap, and there’s no practical eBook. Three editions are worth considering: 6th, 7th, and 8th. The 6th edition will be the cheapest (by far) and can probably be found for under $120 AUD (including shipping), although it’s fairly out of date for the most part. The 7th edition is two books, and can be found usually for under $220 AUD together (really depends on how lucky you are). The 8th edition has just been released (and is significantly better), but it costs an absolute fortune ($300 USD is the average!). The UK editions of the texts are good too.