Category Archives: Must Have

Must have books for every medical student.

Must Buy: Pocket Medicine, AKA The Red Book (now Green Book)

Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine

Must Have: Pocket Medicine

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.

 

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Must Buy: First Aid for the Wards

Tao Le First Aid for the Wards, fourth edition on Med Student Books

Tao Le First Aid for the Wards, fourth edition

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.

Up until now in your education, most people 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’s 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’s still an exam at the end. However, you are evaluated from the very first day you step onto the floor. Furthermore, the way in which you are evaluated on the exam (factoid-based) is usually different from how you are evaluated by your team (practical working knowledge). As obvious as that may sound, it took me a while to truly understand that and react accordingly. My method, which I highly recommend, is to get a cheap used (or free) version of First Aid for the Wards:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071597964/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=itemcontent-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217153&creative=399349&creativeASIN=0071597964 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suggest reading through the corresponding section in Wards the weekend before starting a clerkship, not to really commit everything to long term memory, but just to skim the information and orient yourself to the vocabulary and mindset of the specialty. Shelf exams will never ask you about the ALLHAT trial, but I guarantee you that you will have a patient on day 1 of Internal Medicine that it will apply to, and simply dropping that trial name appropriately because you happen to have read it the night before will score you major points. As such, you do NOT need the latest version of the book (or any other quick overview), because the attendings don’t pimp heavily to the latest info. Again: FA Wards for short term memory. Study for-serious with another source as the clerkship nears its end.

 

 

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Must Buy: Frank Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy

Frank Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy

Must Buy: Frank Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy review on Med Student Books

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.

 

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Must Buy: First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2011

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 - 2011, by Tao Le

Must Buy: First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 - 2011

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.

 

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