Tag Archives: progress notes

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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