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From The CriticsReviewer: N. Kevin Krane, MD, FACP (Tulane University School of Medicine)
Description: This book provides a general overview of clinical medicine with a classic presentation of each disorder followed by a series of bullet points highlighting important facts.
Purpose: It is designed to provide the information necessary for medical students to perform well on the USMLE, Step 2 licensing examination. It organizes material in a clear and precise manner by discipline. The description of classic presentations emphasizes the importance of understanding common presentations of important disorders. This book provides an excellent overview of clinical medicine, but whether or not it effectively prepares students for the USMLE, Step 2 examination can only be answered by those who use this text and then sit for the examination.
Audience: This review is intended for use by senior medical students preparing for the USMLE, Step 2 examination in their fourth year. It is inadequate for house officers of almost any discipline, but it may be of interest to first and second year students who want concise information about diseases in many clinical disciplines. While the authors are familiar with the content of the USMLE, Step 2 examination, their depth of knowledge in any specialty is limited as first year house officers. This is reflected in the superficial manner in which the material is covered.
Features: This review provides a superficial overview of all disciplines in clinical medicine, though family practice is not specifically represented. Additional emphasis is provided in cardiology. The presentation of material is the most important feature in that it organizes what can be an overwhelming amount of material for students in a concise and easy to read format. The emphasis on classic presentations provides a focus for each disease. The use of bulleted points and occasional mnemonics and charts present the material effectively. The superficial presentation of material, however, is a serious flaw. A specific example is the discussion of acute viral hepatitis, which provides no information on incubation periods of hepatocellular carcinoma. Treatment discussion, when provided, is at the level of a second year student.
Assessment: The information provided is a student-oriented summation of material that is well organized, but not at a level appropriate for upper level medical students. Though the authors can draw from their experience in preparing for the USMLE, Step 2, their depth of knowledge is inadequate to prepare a text of this nature. The organization and use of common presentations may be more effectively used by students preparing for the USMLE, Step 1 examination. The thumbnail sketches are useful in considering many disease states; however, the depth of information is inadequate and even inaccurate at times. This is not an adequate study guide for medical students preparing for their USMLE, Step 2 examination.