First and foremost, your program should have a list of required items: laptop, books, medical equipment, etc. I’ll dissect each section and talk about some items I found very useful during the first three semesters.
In an ideal world, it would be a great idea to buy all the required textbooks for each course. Unfortunately, after 5-6 courses per semester and 6 or more semesters, the cost can add up very quickly. Talk to the upper class to see if they used the book often and if they suggest buying it (or if they’re willing to sell their own). Ask the library if they use Access Medicine–the majority of the books can be found online here. Keep in mind that Access Medicine and other online sources tend not to have page numbers.
Many programs use the Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment (CMDT) textbook. If you have ever seen this book, you’ll know that it is pretty hefty, so carrying it around is not ideal. Access Medicine has the CMDT textbook as well as Quick Medical Diagnosis and Treatment (QMDT), which breaks down each disease into key features, clinical findings, diagnosis, and treatment in bullet points. If you’re crunched for time or do not want to read the CMDT, this is absolutely perfect.
Let’s talk a little about supplemental books that your program or other students may suggest. The gold standard for PA school is PANCE Prep Pearls. It’s a very popular book among PA students because it’s everything we will need to know for the PANCE. It is well organized and detail specific with bolded, underlined, and helpful mnemonics–definitely consider this book. For Pathophysiology, Pathoma is another gold standard. There are videos as well (that requires an additional purchase) and many PA and MD/DO students really find this book helpful. I have used it for when I want to dive deep into the pathology behind a disease process. As for Anatomy Atlas, they are plentiful. I really like having Netter’s Atlas of Anatomy for base foundation and Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy for real cadaver images. In addition, I’ll talk a little more about 3D Anatomy Atlas’s in part 4.