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From The CriticsReviewer: Jennifer Paulsen Waugh, BS (University of Iowa College of Medicine)
Description: This book, written with contributions from medical students and residents who aced their core rotations during the clinical years, is a survival guide for students during their clinical years. The third edition of this book was published 2005.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide practical information to medical students entering the clinical phase of their education that will ease the transition from classroom to clinic. The authors compiled a list of "I wish I would have known that!" information that would be useful for medical students unsure of what to expect on the wards. This book is useful for medical students who need extra help during this transition.
Audience: Intended for medical students entering and continuing the clinical phase of their education, this book may be too simple for more advanced medical students who are used to the inner workings of clinical medicine. The authors take feedback from medical students and residents who did well in each core clerkship. They know how each rotation works fairly well, but are not authorities on what facts are the most important.
Features: The common expectations of a medical student on each core rotation are covered. General, high-yield material with useful mnemonic devices on each of the core rotations is provided in a concise, logical manner that would be useful for beginning third year medical students. The book uses templates that show examples of effective admit orders, admit H&Ps, and SOAP notes. The mnemonic devices are helpful for reviewing information that has already been learned. A unique section includes brief synopses of review books popular with medical students throughout the country, a great tool for medical students needing extra resources. This book may be better suited as a review of how to excel on the wards rather than as a prediction of expectations and important information on the wards. Expectations are best gathered by asking attending physicians. The material provided for each clerkship is meant to help medical students master facts that can be used as "pimping" questions rather than to help them master the material needed to do well on the clerkship exam. The authors do not necessarily make this clear. There are no clinical vignettes or practice questions that would be expected of a review book.
Assessment: This book is good for third year students who may have trouble transitioning from the classroom to the clinics. They may find the "I wish I would have known that!" information useful when they are unsure of what to do or how to act on the wards. However, the book tries to incorporate too many extra facts into sections devoted to each of the core clerkships. The facts are high-yield, but are not useful if the student is still trying to acclimate to clinical medicine. Students should refer to more comprehensive resources while studying for each clerkship. The "What is the Rotation Like?" sections are not very useful as each medical school, attending physician, and resident has different expectations. The book repeats a lot of the same principles that make a good medical student when reviewing each core clerkship. Because these principles do not change, a new edition was not really necessary to convey the most useful information.