13 of the Best EMS Textbooks

EMS Textbooks, EMT Textbooks, Paramedic Textbooks

If you’re looking for a great EMS Textbook, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for an EMT Textbook, or a Paramedic Textbook, this article will show you 11 of the best EMS Textbooks and explain why they make it in the list of the top 13!

We all know how important continuing education is in the EMS Field. It’s important to recognise that EMS textbooks are not meant to just be read while completing your training, but be referred back to throughout your career, and new books added to your personal library constantly in order to grow and learn more as an EMS Provider.

As an EMT or Paramedic, your job revolves around your knowledge. You can be the most well-equipped EMT or Paramedic known to man, with all of the latest EMS equipment and gadgetry known to man, but unless you have the knowledge to go with it, then you’re just another “Paramedic Batman” with “All the gear, and no idea!”

EMS Textbooks allow you to learn more at your own pace, choosing to read when you have the time, and to select books and chapters that you are interested in, or have identified a need to lean more about.

It is partly thanks to these advantages that EMT Textbooks and Paramedic Textbooks are so popular, and are such an efficient way of learning in the EMS profession.

When choosing an EMS Textbook, make sure you choose something reputable and comprehensive. The following list of EMT Textbooks and Paramedic Textbooks are highly recommended, but the list is not exhaustive, so don’t be afraid to search for a book not included in this list.

RELATED: Click here to see the Best EMT Audiobooks OR – Read the best EMS Books here

1. Prehospital Emergency Care (11th Edition)

Prehospital Emergency Care is a fantastic EMS Textbook and EMT Textbook. It's also a good starting point for Paramedic Textbooks

Prehospital Emergency Care is a comprehensive EMS Textbook, best suited as an EMT Textbook, that covers a broad range of EMS topics and contains a large amount of useful images and illustrations to help develop your understanding of anatomy, body processes and EMT skills and procedures.

The Prehospital Emergency Care textbook is a great foundation for anyone in EMS, and is often used as the main textbook in many EMT courses around the world.

2. Emergency Care (13th Edition)

Emergency Care is a great foundational EMT Textbook

Emergency Care is another comprehensive EMS Textbook, and while it is mainly focussed on the EMT scope of practice (Making for an excellent EMT Textbook) it’s also a useful text for others in the EMS community.

The Emergency Care Textbook also has a focus on developing Critical Thinking skills, and providing an evidence-based approach to teaching EMT skills.

3. AMLS: Advanced Medical Life Support (3rd Edition)

AMLS is a highly respected Paramedic Textbook, that forms one of the most popular EMS textbooks in the industry.

AMLS: Advanced Medical Life Support is created by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), and is endorsed by the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP).

This EMS Textbook is best suited as a Paramedic Textbook, providing information on advanced medical life support and conducting advanced medical assessments to empower practitioners to rapidly diagnose medical patients and initiate effective management in the field.

4. Paediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals (PEPP) (3rd Edition)

Paediatric Education is a good EMS textbook used either as an EMT textbook or a Paramedic Textbook. Learn about paediatric assessment and treatment options.

The Paediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals Textbook is a comprehensive EMS Textbook, suited well as either an EMT Textbook or Paramedic Textbook, especially for providers who frequently treat paediatric patients, or who have an interest or need to develop further skills and knowledge in that area.

Even if you do not frequently provide care for paediatric patients, you should still consider this textbook as a great way to increase your knowledge in this area – you never know when you’ll need it!

5. Emergency Pathophysiology: Clinical Applications for Prehospital Care

Emergency Pathophysiology is an essential EMS Textbook, useful as an EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook.

Emergency Pathophysiology is a core EMS Textbook, useful as both an EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook.

This EMS Textbook has a strict focus on defining the pathophysiology of the most common, and most concerning, diseases and conditions encountered by EMTs and Paramedics.

Each chapter also identifies appropriate drugs and management guidelines for the diseases and conditions mentioned.

Having a sound understanding of pathophysiology is essential to being a good EMS provider, and this EMS Textbook is a great reference to improve your understanding.

6. Intravenous Therapy for Prehospital Providers

The Intravenous Therapy for Prehospital Providers EMS Textbook may usually be considered an Advanced EMT or Paramedic Textbook, however it can also be useful as an EMT Textbook.

Not all EMS providers can provide IV access and therapy, however all EMS professionals can learn more about Intravenous Therapy and prepare to further their skills and qualifications in order to be able to provide it in the future. That’s why this is more than just an Advanced EMT or Paramedic Textbook, and should be considered as an EMT Textbook also, as we should always strive to learn more, and further our knowledge and understanding.

The Intravenous Therapy for Prehospital Providers textbook is useful as either a standalone textbook on Intravenous Therapy, or as an additional text to help improve your existing knowledge.

7. Life and Death Matters: Professionalism and Decision-Making for the First Responder

Life and Death Matters is a great EMS Textbook, useful as an EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook that talks about personal qualities and attributes of EMS Providers and how they help guide decision making and success as a provider.

Life and Death Matters is an in-depth look at the qualities and personal attributes of EMS providers, and as such this book is a very useful EMS Textbook, which is recommended both as an EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook.

As an EMS Provider it’s essential to grow and develop as a person, paying attention to your interpersonal skills as well as your clinical knowledge and understanding. This approach will help improve communication with your patients.

8. AEMT: Advanced Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured (3rd Edition)

This Advanced EMT Textbook is a useful EMS Textbook for EMTs and Advanced EMTs.

AEMT: Advanced Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured is a fundamental Text, which is intended as an Advanced EMT Textbook, however it is still useful as an EMT Textbook as it’s important to research and constantly learn more.

This Advanced EMT Textbook is focused on critical thinking skills and evidence based medicine in EMS.

9. Medical Terminology: Learn to pronounce, understand and memorize over 2000 Medical Terms

Medical Terminology is an essential skill in EMS, making this EMS Textbook an essential EMT textbook and Paramedic Textbook.

In this Medical Terminology EMS Textbook, you will read about prefixes, suffixes, root words, correct pronunciation, as well as memorization and remembering techniques.

Medical Terminology is essential knowledge for all EMS providers, regardless of what level; you operate at, thus making this text essential reading as both an EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook.

10. Human Anatomy (9th Edition)

The human anatomy EMS Textbook is essential reading both as an EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook.

This Human Anatomy Textbook is a clear standout as one of the best textbooks on human anatomy, and there are plenty to choose from!

The Human Anatomy Textbook contains a large amount of clear pictures and illustrations to help you understand the concepts presented, as well as in depth descriptions and definitions of the various anatomy shown.

A useful EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook that can be referred back to throughout your career.

11. Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s (6th Edition)

Rapid Interpretation of EKG's is an essential EMS Textbook useful as both an EMT Textbook and Paramedic Textbook.

The Author of Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s uses a light and entertaining style of teaching to help you understand EKG interpretation.

This EMS Textbook is a good introduction to EKG’s, and although this skill is often thought of as being restricted to Paramedic Textbooks, this EMS Textbook can be either used as an EMT Textbook or Paramedic Textbook. (Remember to always stay within your scope of practice and local protocols).

12. PHTLS: Prehospital Trauma Life Support (9th Edition)

PHTLS is an essential EMS Textbook

Prehospital Trauma Life Support is an essential EMS Textbook, fundamentally used as an EMT Textbook but also as a Paramedic Textbook.

This EMS Textbook covers the assessment and management of Trauma patients in the field. Developed by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) this EMT Textbook has a focus on critical thinking and evidence based medicine.

13. Pharmacology for the Prehospital Professional (2nd Edition)

Pharmacology for the Prehospital Professional is an EMS Textbook, best suited as a Paramedic Textbook, however it can also be useful as an EMT Textbook to further develop knowledge and understanding as an EMT, as well as getting a head start on becoming a Paramedic.

Having a thorough understanding of Pharmacology is essential for Paramedics, and indeed others in EMS.

This Pharmacology Textbook provides information on over 90 drugs commonly used in prehospital care, and also provides clinical scenarios to help you apply the knowledge learned in the book.

Another useful chapter contained in this Paramedic Textbook is about the mathematics of medication administration, to help you develop your skills with dosage calculations. Again, this Paramedic Textbook can be used as an EMT Textbook to help expand your knowledge.

Should I buy hard copy books, e-books or audiobooks?

The decision of which format to buy your desired books in is often deeply personal, and a matter of preference.

While some prefer to have their books an e-reader or mobile device, others like to have the physical copy to read through, and some of us like to listen to our books.

I choose a mixture of each, depending on the contents of the book, and how I intend to read it.

For textbooks, I usually opt to buy the physical copy, however I’ll occasionally get the e-book too, which is a great option for increased portability.

For any biographical book I will often listen to the audiobook, especially if it’s narrated by the author, as I can listen to the book the way the author intended it to be read.

If you’re not sure if you will like audiobooks, why not sign up for a Free Trial of Audible?

You get a free audiobook with your trial, and if you don’t like it you can cancel at the end of the trial, pay nothing, and still keep the book! It’s a great deal!

I find that Audiobooks are especially good for EMS as we can listen to them while cleaning the rig, or on standby at the station.

BONUS TIP: as well as using your down-time to read or listen to EMS Textbooks, there are some great strategies and tips for exercising during your down-time on shift. You can read all about them here.

A Note on EMT Textbooks and Paramedic Textbooks

While EMT Textbooks are usually thought to be best suited to EMTs, and Paramedic Textbooks best suited to Paramedics, there is usually a lot of “cross-over” and you will find that the content is often relevant to both levels of EMS provider, and potentially for other EMS roles.

For example, as an EMT you may not be able to perform IV access or therapy, however reading a paramedic textbook that covers these topics may still be of relevance to you, if even to help grow your understanding for the future, if you choose to become a Paramedic, Nurse, or other level of provider that includes IVs in the scope of practice.

As a Paramedic, you receive training in advanced life support, as well as pharmacology and often other procedures and treatment options, meaning that paramedic textbooks are essential to your learning.

Whilst it’s great to have this knowledge and skill set, it’s also important to remember that BLS comes before ALS, and unless you have mastered the basics, you will not be the best version of yourself that you can be as a provider until you master those basics.

That being said, you may find a good paramedic textbook that covers the basics as well, however you may still want a trusty EMT textbook to recap over the fundamentals of EMS. Remember that until those basic skills and knowledge are learned and put into practice, most of the advanced skills and knowledge are often useless. Keep in the mind the age-old saying – “BLS before ALS”.

The Value of being an Understudy

The word Understudy gets its meaning from the world of theatre. No, not the operating theatre. The actual theatre.

In theatre terms, an Understudy is the name given to a performer who studies, and memorises the lines of another actor, in the event that they need replacing at the last minute due to illness or an inability to perform.

Because the understudy has memorised the lines, they can step out of their role and into that of the other performer without causing too much disruption to the overall production.

Being an understudy can be useful in other professions also – and EMS is no exception.

As an EMT, you should also spend some time reading Paramedic Textbooks (In addition to your EMT Textbooks) and learning about the role of a Paramedic. This will not only increase your general knowledge in the field of EMS, but will also better prepare you to potentially further your formal education and become a Paramedic.

As a Paramedic, you may understudy the role of a Critical Care Paramedic, or Flight Paramedic, etc.

There’s no limit to how much you effort you put into this, as long as you never step outside your professional scope of practice and relevant protocols.

Remember that you knowledge and understanding is entirely unrestricted, so although the licencing standards set a minimum requirement, you can always learn over and above that restriction.

Another benefit to expanding your knowledge is that although limitations are placed on which skills you can perform in EMS, there is no limit to the knowledge you can gain.

For example, if you’re an EMT, while you may not be able to perform the skills of a Paramedic, there’s nothing to stop you from reading Paramedic Textbooks and expanding your knowledge base.

Growing your knowledge in this way will also prepare you for future training and education to upskill to the next level, or even shifting into medicine and becoming a physician.

Other ways to learn…

If reading EMS Textbooks (or just reading in general) isn’t your thing, then you’re not alone.

There are many different ways of learning, and it’s important to recognise your unique learning style, and actively seek opportunities that allow you to thrive in your learning. Failing to seek educational opportunities that suit your unique individual learning style can hold you back significantly from achieving your potential.

For example, if you’re more of a visual learner then you may wish to seek out some good training videos that are relevant to EMS. Just stay away from fictional TV Shows and Movies, or you’ll be shocking asystole before you know it.

Another great way of increasing your learning is to listen to EMS Audiobooks. Click here for our list of the best EMS Audiobooks available. One of the great things about audiobooks is that you can listen to them while completing other tasks, whether they be household chores, cleaning the ambulance, cooking, driving, etc. You can easily incorporate learning into your life.

Remember that learning with videos in EMS can be difficult and, to an extent, unreliable, so don’t completely rely on this method of learning. You should instead focus on learning with videos for specific subjects or topics.

A good example of this is when learning about anatomy. Some people can learn this just fine in an EMT Textbook or Paramedic Textbook, but others might learn better, or expand their knowledge more, by watching educational video programmes such as Gunthers ER.

Being able to physically see what the EMS Textbook is talking about can be extremely beneficial to many of us, and videos can help significantly with this.

There are also many other creative ways of achieving EMS Continuing Education. While EMS Textbooks are a fantastic source of information, they can also become dated and require updates that usually necessitate purchasing a new EMT Textbook or Paramedic Textbook. Practical experience however lasts a lifetime.

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