MS 3 Additional Books to Buy


Of General Use
These books do not necessarily confine themselves to a particular rotation, but seem to be useful for most of the rotations. These are often the books that you see in almost resident or med student’s pockets! One nice thing about all of these books is that they are extra sturdy and will take abuse really well. These books are the reasons why med student white coats are so stuffed!

Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine
$44.95 You will have a hard time finding a Family or Internal Medicine resident without one of these! While primarily focused towards internal medicine, the topics in this book tend to creep up on the other services when discussing the management of the patient’s co-morbid diseases. This is probably a book that you will be using for a long time and many residents and attendings have their copies heavily marked up with notes added throughout the years.

Maxwell Quick Medical Reference
$7.95 Similar to MDPocket but cheaper. A must have if you go to any hospital without the Essentris electronic chart (Essentris creates templates for all notes, but on the paper chart all you have is a blank sheet, this book will tell you what goes in to each note type). Contains tips on how to write certain notes, interpreting EKGs and has some common exams (MMSE, Snelling Eye Chart). As above the MDPocket has some things not in this book so making copies of pages you like is a good idea.

The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy
$13.72 This book is essential. Basically tells you exactly how to treat any bug you can think of, with exact medications with dosing! Almost everyone carries one around but you can be really helpful to your residents if you understand how to use this book, so that you can rattle off the proper management choice during rounds. I was able to get my copy from a pharmaceutical representative, but with the new rules they may not be able to hand it out for free. Take the time to get this year’s edition as there are usually important changes. Really small and fits easily into a shirt pocket.

Other Books to Consider Boards & Wards

Internal Medicine
All of the books listed above are must haves for this rotation, however none of them are particularly useful for studying for the shelf (maybe Pocket Medicine but that can get too detailed for the shelf exam). The internal medicine shelf is definitely one of the hardest of the MS-III year, but your time on the wards tends to be fairly applicable.

Step Up to Medicine
$38.65 This book IS the shelf! Very readable in 12 weeks, but it might be a good idea to highlight the main points for studying later because the explanations can be somewhat long winded (but usually helpful at illustrating the important concepts). Great for reading up on your patient’s diseases, but still applicable to the shelf exam. Not much else to say because this book pretty much unbeatable!

MKSAP For Students 4
$0 (issued at each clerkship site) Great Q&A book that is issued to you when you get to your site. Has detailed and well written explanations for every question. The questions tend to be quite reflective of the shelf exam. There are plenty of questions here and if you pace yourself, it is definitely possible to get through them all during the clerkship. Excellent for group study!

You will receive a pocket DSM-IV-TR with your MS-III book issue. While it is a useful for quickly looking up the diagnostic guidelines it does not contain any treatment information or good explanations for common presentations.

First Aid for the Psychiatry Clerkship
$38.65 Presents information in a very compact, outline format that covers everything that the shelf will ask about. Also does a good job of organizing the important diseases with their DSM-IV-TR descriptions. Most of the topics in psychiatry don’t require detailed explanations to understand, so if you like having good explanations of topics then consider supplementing this text with Case Files.

Case Files: Psychiatry
$26.95 Good for supplementing First Aid if you like to see things in a clinical case format. Probably not the best text for drilling facts in the days before the shelf, but easier to read over a long period of time.

Family Medicine
The family medicine rotation is really similar to the internal medicine rotation but adds in pediatrics and OB/GYN. Along the same lines the shelf exam will reflect those subjects. Therefore reviewing some medicine books (like Step Up) is not a bad use of time but don’t spend all of your resources there. The Washington Manual is another good reference book for this rotation for the same reasons as in internal medicine.

Case Files: Family Medicine
$26.95 Does a good job reviewing the important internal medicine topics but also takes time to touch on the basic pediatrics and OB/GYN that will show up on the test. I did this clerkship round 3 after medicine, so I had not done any pediatrics or OB/GYN. However this book was able to fill in those gaps at the level the shelf expects. This book (like all of the books in this series) presents a randomly organized set of cases that hit all of the major points, but has a good index to look up relevant topics.

This department deserves credit for issuing exactly the books you will need for the shelf and for covering the topics that you will see in the hospital. Make sure you have your Harriet Lane Manual (issued MS-III year) for reference, but it’s probably not useful for the shelf. I like Case Files for Pediatrics

Surgery is an interesting rotation because you will spend 12 weeks doing surgery, yet the shelf at the end has more in common with internal medicine? Because of that disconnect there are books better suited to looking good on the wards and others that are better for the shelf. Balancing learning about topics that attending will ask about and the ones on the shelf is a challenge. BE AWARE THAT SURGERY SHELF IS ½ an INTERNAL MEDICINE SHELF

NMS Surgery Casebook
$38.65 Great book that tends to focus more on the shelf exam. Well organized and logical, it presents topics in a case presentation format, but then takes time to address several variations on the case that would change management or diagnosis. It seems to mirror the Essentials of General Surgery textbook, covering topics in the same order. But it is much easier to read and tends to break down large topics to the main points.

Half of this rotation is spent on the labor deck, so you will spend a lot of time sitting around, punctuated with an hour or so of activity when someone delivers. That means there is plenty of time for reading throughout the day! Be sure to always keep a pregnancy wheel on you or better yet, have one on your Palm/iPhone.

Blueprints: Obstetrics and Gynecology
$35.95 Presents mostly the same information found in the Essentials of OB/GYN textbook above, but is much more condensed. Therefore it is better suited for helping to master the main points of the material before the shelf arrives. It has lots of good charts that simplify large amounts of information that you will be asked questions about.

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