Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What To Buy For Medical School (Or Not)

As a medical student, you are often faced with various offers for tools and resources to further your medical education. Are these worthwhile offers? Does one really need to have this latest gadget in order to treat patients? Well, here is a quick guide on what to buy for medical school, and what not to purchase. 

What To Buy As A Medical Student:

* ... that's about it. Almost everything else you can borrow and then return once the course or rotation is done.

What Not To Buy As A Medical Student:

* Fancy Ophthalmoscope - You will spend hundreds of dollars on a tool you will use only once or twice your first year. Then, you'll enter clinics and realize that the places where you really need an ophthalmoscope, they will provide one free of charge. Your scope will collect dust at home. And you will probably never see the optic disc properly anyway. 

Heh, unless of course you want to go into ophthalmology (or do international work). Then, by all means, please buy a real good ophthalmoscope so that maybe someday you'll see that disc!

* Heavy physiology textbook - Oh, your cover was so shiny; your illustrations, very clear. I used you for two weeks, passed my test, and now have a $80 door stop. Thank you, heavy physiology textbook.

* PDA - You were personal. You were digital. You were assistant-y. Yet, I never could whip you out fast enough to prevent the lacunae in my knowledge to be unveiled during a pimp session. 

* Beeper - Beeper, beeper, wherefore art thy beeps? I used to lie awake at night, waiting for that stat page from the intern, summoning me and my massive intellect to the ER. Yet, the page never came. Sadness. Also, why is it that in this day and age, only medical personnel and drug dealers still use beepers? Hmm... 

There you have it: Scrub Notes Medical Student Guide On What To Buy For Medical School (Or Not). Enjoy!


  1. Nah, you don't even need Pocket Medicine. And First Aid gets way more press than it should. It's good for mnemonics, but I recommend using the Kaplan books when studying for STEP I.

    A PDA is definitely worth it during third year if you don't have a smart phone. Put ePocrates on it and impress your residents with your drug knowledge.

  2. Yea, some of this is just personal preference, but I found that Pocket Medicine was good to read during interminable conferences, because it really boils things down to the essentials, fits in your pocket, and has a few good mnemonics as well. Also, if your attending is into evidence based medicine, it is well-sourced.

    And yea, I got a smartphone for like 1/3 the cost of my PDA, which I am now trying to sell. I think the value of a smartphone is much greater than a PDA, so I see no point in getting one anymore. I agree that you can impress your residents, but I saw other students with paper pharmacopeias who were almost as fast as I was on epocrates. You just have to use it yourself a few times to get good with it.

    Kaplan books? Hmm, I did the qbank but didn't really use the books. I'd heard that they were a rehash of basic science courses, and I had my own notes for that. Although, I used Kaplan for the MCAT and it was good back then, so probably can't hurt.

  3. i think kaplan books are overkill. first aid is good only for step 1, really...although the pharm is pretty killer and i'm using some of it in studying for step 2!

    love this post...friggin hilarious. and so true!

    yo' classmatesville



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