Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Books For Internal Medicine Core Clerkship / Rotation And Shelf Exam

Along with the surgery rotation, the internal medicine rotation is arguably the most important rotation you will take during your clinical training in medical school. Of course, if you choose to specialize or go into another primary care field like pediatrics, those rotations will count a great deal. However, every student will be greatly benefited by doing well in medicine and surgery. The grade you receive on this rotation is on par with your surgery grade and second only to the USMLE Step 1 score in terms of factors that residency program directors evaluate. Your grade will likely be a mix of clinical evaluation and your shelf exam score. However, since the evaluations tend to average out to the same values, the shelf exam is what separates the great students from the good ones.

To do well on the rotation requires the usual medical student qualities of diligence and compassion, but the three main things to know are: know your patient, know your physiology, and know your pharmacology. If you know those three things and study hard, you will succeed. But, how does a medical student acquire all that knowledge in short period of time? The key is studying good resources efficiently. Here are my recommendations:


Books For Internal Medicine Core Clerkship / Rotation

Step-Up to Medicine
by Agabegi / Agabegi

This review book covers major areas within medicine by organ system. It is well-organized and easy to read, with many tips and mnemonics detailed in the margins. I also found the flow charts helpful for thinking through certain conditions, such as what to do for a hypoxic patient.



Case Files Internal Medicine
by Toy et al.

If you are familiar with the Case Files series, then you know that these books are a good way to get up to speed on any clerkship. They are quick to read, but really help you understand the basic concepts and cases within a specialty. Read this book right before your rotation starts or during the first week. The book contains 60 cases of common diagnoses within internal medicine, specifically a patient vignette, followed by a description of the workup, background on the diagnosis, and review questions.




Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine
by Sabatine

While on the wards themselves, you cannot refer to a full reference book for information. That's where Pocket Medicine comes in. The guide is a fairly comprehensive reference that fits in the pocket of your white coat. While it does not go into detail about pathophysiology of disease, it has a lot of information about clinical guidelines, relevant trials, and most importantly, how to manage common medical problems, from congestive heart failure to hyperkalemia to lower GI bleeding.



If you can master the content in these three books, you will do well on your internal medicine rotation. And, as always, remember to keep your differential broad and your therapeutic options broader.


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Updated 2015-12-18

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