Monthly Archives: June 2011
Primary Care Otolaryngology by Mark Wax is one of those great tiny books to just breeze through in an afternoon, regardless of your specialty. It has a great balance of brevity and high yield knowledge, specifically highlighting otolaryngology surgical emergencies and general ENT knowledge. The information is easily applied to a number of non-ENT rotations, specifically in regards to outpatient primary care, and reading x-rays. ENT topics in general are pretty straight forward: easy to learn and easy to teach, which means you look like a star med student when you point out a concha bullosa on a random CT in the emergency room, floors, or outpatient setting, and then explain what it means.
You can buy a physical copy, or get the eBook for free online through The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) produces a number of resources, but MKSAP For Students 4 is one of the best things they have to offer medical students on inpatient internal medicine or outpatient primary care medicine clerkships. There are a number of USMLE style question banks and books out there, but this one really covers all the bases in these fields. In case you were wondering, it stands for the “Medical Knowledge Self Assessment Program”.
More valuable than the physical text itself is the CD that comes with every copy. Questions can be loaded directly onto a computer, which comes in handy if you like to study around town with a laptop. Your progress and answer choices are tracked and can easily be reset at any time. My personal favorite use is loading the question bank onto my smart phone so I can listen to music and answer questions while waiting for the bus. Keep in mind that certain Android browsers do not support linking through websites that are on the phone itself. All this means is that you will need to hit the back button and load a new question from the browser instead of just hitting “Next” on the question page itself.
There are a number of different MKSAP question sets, which gets confusing. Bottom line: As a medical student searching for a good book, get MKSAP 4, followed by MKSAP 3 if desired. An article will be posted soon regarding all the differences, including the higher numbered books.
As for MKSAP 4, it covers all the expected topics, complete with dermatology images and EKG interpretations. Specific chapters include Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, General Internal Medicine, Hematology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Neurology, Oncology, Pulmonary Medicine, Rheumatology. By the end of the book, you will know every etiology of common presentations such as cough, chest pain, abdominal pain, etc. It really is a great tool for inpatient Internal Medicine, outpatient Internal Medicine, a large portion of Family Medicine, shelf exams, and the USMLE Step 2 CK exam.
The 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope is the best bang for the med student loan-money buck when it comes to superior medical equipment to buy. Some basic stethoscope knowledge: “bell” and “diaphragm” refer to the two side of older traditional stethoscopes that allow the listener to tune into lower and higher frequencies, respectively. The 3M Littmann Cardiology III however uses some magical patented technology to produce this affect simply by pushing lightly or firmly. The second smaller side can be used in a similar fashion as a pediatric stethoscope, or converted to a traditional bell (see insert in picture). Bottom line: this is the only stethoscope that is needed for any medical student throughout medical school and beyond.
The instrument itself usually comes with a 5 year manufacturer warranty, which is perfect because it lasts through intern year. The ear pieces are comfortable, and a new set will come with an extra pair that are easily changed, but most likely won’t need to be. The entire instrument is very easy to clean, comes in handy on the wards when coming in contact with infectious patients.
There will be a lot of options when trying to purchase a stethoscope, so here are a few pointers. First, try to stick to the Cardiology III. Most people believe the Cardiology II simply aren’t as good. You may be tempted to get the limited edition black plated version or spend the extra money on engraving your name into the bell, but keep in mind that there is a small but not negligible population of stethoscope thieves in hospitals.
3m doesn’t sell these directly, so you should do a good amount of searching for the lowest price. Unlike other medical instruments, this one should be purchased new. The best strategy is to search around, and specifically target individuals who are selling them new. The links below should be a good start.
Pocket Medicine, by Marc Sabatine out of Mass General is the best go-to reference for any medical student or resident, and an essential item for any white coat pocket while on Internal Medicine. On the wards, preceptors will readily refer to “The Green Book” (which is just the newest edition after “The Red Book“) to highlight key information pertinent to a differential diagnosis, equation, criteria, diagnostic test, or treatment of your patients. The two are pretty similar, and the Red Book will be fine, especially for those not going into Internal Medicine. However if you want the best and latest information with slightly superior organization, you should definitely go with the Green Book.
The best strategy is to briefly reference the appropriate topic just before and after seeing your patient, but before you meet up with your Internal Medicine residents or attendings. If nothing more, this offers fantastic overviews of specific diseases and issues for your short term memory, which comes as an excellent support upon meeting sudden but inevitable pimping.
Specific sections include everything you would expect in Internal Medicine: Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, Neprhology, Hematology-Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, and Neurology. It also has a handy image index and list of common abbreviations to ensure you don’t accidentally mistake “I’s & O’s” for “eyes and nose” on the wards.
Pocket Medicine is a great aid to help you look like a knowledgeable all-star, and highly recommended if you are gunning for Honors. This really is the best ace up your white coat sleeve.
First Aid for the Wards is another Tao Le book that every medical student should own. It provides a comprehensive overview of each core clerkship, including what to bring, how to write progress notes, and common abbreviations.
Before third year of medical school, most med students study a little bit throughout a course, and pick up time dedicated to studying as the end of the course approaches. It makes sense, as that is usually where the evaluation is, being an exam. It is easy to be similarly fooled into thinking the strategy should be the same for clerkships, especially because there is still an exam at the end. However, medical students are evaluated from the very first day on the floor. Furthermore, the way in which they are evaluated on the exam (factoid-based) is usually different from how they are evaluated by their team (practical working knowledge).
To prepare for that new setup, the highly recommended strategy is to read through the corresponding section in First Aid for the Wards the weekend before starting a clerkship, not to commit everything to long term memory, but just to skim the information and become oriented to the vocabulary and mindset of the specialty. Shelf exams will never ask about the ALLHAT trial, but every student guaranteed to have a patient on the first day of Internal Medicine that it will apply to. Simply dropping that trial name appropriately because of readings the previous night is sure to impress. With that in mind, more in depth resources should be used for shelf exams.
Frank Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy 5th Edition is another must-have book for all of medical school and beyond, and serves as an excellent reference and resource for Anatomy class and the Surgery clerkship later in medical school. It also comes with Student Consult, which is an online resource library of other illustrations, supplemental learning resources, and anatomy dissection guides.
Anatomy hasn’t changed much over the years, yet they still tend to keep coming out with newer editions of Netter’s drawings, despite Dr. Netter passing away several years ago. Nevertheless, Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy is comprised of labeled diagrams, which provide clear pictures with ideal visualization, and overviews every inch of anatomic detail with precise vocabulary to help with easy recognition and retainment of human anatomy. The book itself is broken down by physical areas of the body, and details every physical structure and network, including nerves, arteries, and veins.
Many students find this an ideal way to study for Human Anatomy written exams, but as they are only drawings, some find cadaver pictures in books such as Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy (reviewed here) to be a complementary supplement. The book is also well supported by the popular and more-portable Netter’s Anatomy Flash cards. As with all resources, it is recommended these are not brought into anatomy lab unless you want them quickly ruined with fat and fixatives.
The below links can be used to find and buy the cheapest version of Frank Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy.
First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2011 by Tao Le is the best way to study for the step 1, and an absolute essential for every single medical student. It provides the basis for your studies and covers about 85% of what will be on the boards, to be complemented by other books and question programs such as USMLE World. First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 starts by overviewing boards logistics and planning, right down to approximate timelines and test taking strategies. The bulk of the book however is dedicated to individual topic overviews, broken down by medical system. The first half of the book have General Principle chapters that are specifically dedicated to Behavioral Sciences, Biochemistry, Embryology, Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology, and Pharmacology. The second half is organ system based, and covers: Cardiovascular, Endocrine, Gastrointestinal, Hematology and Oncology, Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue, Neurology and Psychiatry, Renal, Reproductive, and Respiratory systems. The end of the book also has sections on Rapid Review of helpful terminology and buzz words on the boards, High-Yield pathology images that are likely to pop up, and a review of other good boards resources.
The best way to utilize First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 is to annotate the margins or notes sections with high yield points or topics that should be further explained. Many students actually prefer to take the book to a printer to have the binding cut off and have holes punched into the pages so that everything can be added to a binder. With that setup, additional pages can be easily added, and specific sections can be removed as needed, making the book more portable.
A cheap copy of First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 can usually be found on Amazon. This is unfortunately one of those books you should get New or Like New, as you will want all the margin spaces clean for your own annotation.