blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: Books for the Wards

May 5, 2014

Books for the Wards

Happy Monday all!! I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Last Med School Monday I shared some tips for transitioning to the clinical years, today I'm sharing all of the books I found helpful for each clinical rotation! Please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments section below or ask any questions!!

Medicine: If you like bigger books with more text, lots of people recommend Step-Up to Medicine. I personally couldn't get through a book like that (with seemingly no end of bullet points), I preferred Case Files Internal Medicine. With case-based books like this, I could assign myself I few cases to get through each evening or based on what I saw in the wards and really try to master the work up for those. Rapid Interpretation of EKG's is a must. Pocket Medicine is also great for when you're actually wondering what to do next in the clinical management of a patient. At least in our hospitals it's what almost all of the interns and residents use (besides UpToDate).

Surgery: NMS Surgery Casebook was excellent for working through cases and learning principles of surgical management, great for the shelf exam. Surgical Recall was a necessity for being in on actual surgeries and getting pimped on what's the most likely vessel to get injured when doing x operation or what percentage of patients have y anatomy. I actually had a pdf version that I used on my phone so that I  could quickly read it in pre-op. Also, if you can get your hands on a pdf copy of Pestana's notes, they're amazing (just google Pestana notes surgery).

Ob/Gyn: Case Files Ob/Gyn is where it's at. I literally only used this and it was all I needed. We were recommended some text book that I'm forgetting now because I opened it and just laughed at the thought of reading it.

Pediatrics: Blueprints Pediatrics is usually recommended for Peds and it's pretty sufficient. I actually had a copy of Kaplan's Pediatrics review for Step II and thought it was amazing, if you can get your hands on a pdf copy of this I highly recommend.

Psychiatry: First Aid for Psychiatry was actually the perfect book for Psych. It's a quick rotation with lots of pharmacy, and they're format was really good for memorizing the different categories of disorders and the treatments.

Neurology: Neurology PreTest is great. All I used and what most of my classmates used as well.

Make sure to remember that most of the real learning that will stick happens from your actual patients that you see while on rotations, so try your best to read up on your patients to get the most out of it! Don't stop there though, talk to your patients and learn from their actual experiences. You will not only learn more but you will most definitely make the patients feel like someone actually listened to them, which sadly does not seem to happen as often as it should.
If you have the extra cash, subscribing to USMLE World's Step 2 Qbank would be really worthwhile, too. If not for the whole year, at least during your medicine rotation and try to get through all of the medicine questions. It will definitely help for your shelf exams and when it comes time to study for Step 2. Good luck to all of you heading to the wards, you'll be great!!


  1. Thanks, this is awesome! I start clerkship in November, with 7 weeks of pre-clerkship electives this summer (Canadian school on a compressed 3-year schedule!), and have been wondering what resources I should be getting my hands on. I'll check these out!

  2. You're awesome. Thanks so much for this list! I'll be starting in a couple months. Eeek!

  3. Thank you!! This is exactly what other third and fourth years told me to get as well....thank you for putting together a list of the most useful books for each rotation!!

  4. I'll have to bookmark this page. Thank you so much Laura!

    Could you do a post on financing medical school (if you're comfortable talking about it!)? I'm starting med school this fall and it's been pretty overwhelming sorting through all the financial information that's out there!

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