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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Donald R. Frey, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This 500-page manual is designed to be a reference guide for medical students taking a family medicine clerkship. Its format lends itself to a practical "how to" focus for students beginning their clinical years.
Purpose: The book is intended to deal specifically with medical students on their family medicine clerkship. Although numerous comprehensive texts on the specialty exist, as well as additional manuals, this is the first work designed specifically for the needs of the student clerk.
Audience: Because of its unique structure, the audience will be somewhat limited. Although students in allied health fields will find useful information regarding the unique aspects of ambulatory care, third year medical students will identify most closely with the work. The format may be viewed as a bit too simplistic for fourth year students. The authors are all distinguished faculty members of one of the strongest family medicine departments in the country.
Features: After a very thoughtful and timely introduction to the unique aspects of a family medicine clerkship compared to most other clinical experiences, the book considers the clerkship experience from two standpoints: encounters with patients with symptoms only (undifferentiated problems) and patients for whom the medical condition is known and the visit is one of follow-up. Etiology, evaluation, and treatment are emphasized, with a "Key Points" section that will be particularly helpful in a sometimes frenzied outpatient setting. Case discussions are included, and are very well done.
Assessment: This is an excellent guide for those students taking a family medicine clerkship during their third year of medical school. It is not a substitute for a more comprehensive text in the discipline, nor is it intended to be. However, it will guide many students coming off less hurried inpatient rotations through the much faster paced, and I would contend, much more difficult ambulatory based family medicine rotation with its reassuring, disciplined, and very professional approach.