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on April 14, 2017
Frankly, I'm underwhelmed. After so many "YOU NEED THIS!" reviews, I find it's less useful and more inconvenient than just UpToDate-ing. I'm almost all the way through my intern year and I've cracked this thing open about 3 times. All 3 times, I had to go to UpToDate for followup info anyway.

To be fair, though, I'm doing a transitional year before ophthalmology, so... it's possible that an actual IM resident would get more out of it. Bottom line, though, YMMV.
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on February 7, 2013
Pocket Medicine is a quick, light-weight guide that you can easily find when digging around in the pocket of your white coat. The distinctive feel of the cover's edges - which feel similar to those of the old plastic trapper keepers from grade school - allows you to distinguish it from whatever else you may have stuffed in there as you make your way through the hospital. As a medical student - and, I imagine as a resident - this book can potentially save you from a lot of mistakes and/or embarrassment. That being said, it isn't perfect, and it's not something that's automatically going to make you better at diagnosis or patient care. The best way to use this book is to see things coming down the line, anticipate questions that might arise, and then read up. (Granted, that's a skill, and as any medical student can tell you, it can be almost impossible to anticipate some attendings. There will always be those cases; that's part of the process.)

Generally speaking, I was able to find the answer to most any question regarding diagnosis and treatment, and it was rare that my attendings would ask/lecture about something that wasn't at least covered.

Pros:
- Size: It's really small, and just about the perfect size for a white coat. (Hauling textbooks around a hospital is the worst, because it a) begins to warp your spine until you look and feel like someone who once angered a voodoo priestess, b) you never have time to find what you need in that sea of text anyway, and c) it marks you even more clearly as a younger doctor who is mostly getting by on luck, good recall, and the kindness of nurses.)

- Covering the common stuff: one of the few truisms of medicine is that common things are common - and this book does a great job of covering the common stuff in detail. Referring to this book made me very comfortable that I was conforming to best standards of practice. And on a few occasions, it definitely helped me impress my residents and attendings as being very thorough - maybe even overly so. When you're starting out in medicine, this makes you appear kind of adorable (which I wasn't sure how I felt about) and attentive to detail (which is a really good quality for practitioners to have).

- Diagnostic criteria: The diseases don't read the books, and so of course, not all of these will apply. But overall, I found this book to be helpful in aiding diagnosis. Specifically, it would help me to limit my differential. Also - and I don't know if this was intended by the authors, or more just a side effect of the book's content and structure - I found myself weeding out more of the 'zebra' diagnoses. New doctors are especially prone to that sort of thing, and I felt like this book helped me to stay a little more grounded.

Cons:
- Size: The text is proportional to the rest of the book - which is to say that it's really tiny, and parsing through all of those lines can get old pretty fast. It's much easier if you know the location of the info you want on the page... which, sadly, only comes from having hunted for it a few times. We read small text on our phones and so forth all the time, but when it's late into your call night, small text seems like an added cruelty.

- You actually do have to read it: this isn't a con, so much as a caveat which probably applies to all medical books. A lot of health professional students spend a lot of money on books and resources that eventually just get skimmed. You do have to read this book - at least the parts relevant to your rotation - for it to be useful. Speaking as someone who's done the same thing, we all need to remember that all of these resources aren't talismans. We have to do the mental leg work. And unfortunately, this isn't the most captivating of reads; be ready for a lot of dry, incomplete sentences, and loads of tables. The occasional graph seems downright opulent, after a little while.

Hope this review helped! (And good luck to my fellow students. We're getting there, I promise.)
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on October 17, 2017
Awesome quick reference, plus it looks better than looking at your phone while on rotations
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on August 26, 2015
great book for a medical student, it is a summary really well built. it covers most of the more common diseases. you can use it also as a notebook as it is a binder book so you can buy a few more pages and add them. the images are really sharp, the paper is plastified so it can resist some water spoiling, the cover is all plastic and the front page might come off a little with use. But the content is what matters right so this part is great. each pathology comes with a description diagnostic procedures and treatment all very concise. great review book.
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on February 17, 2013
During my internal med rotation, I used this reference extensively. It has a very convenient format, and information was very fast to look up. I found it faster than looking it up on UptoDate. It is organized by systems, and then by diseases, and provides good differential diagnoses so you can make your notes sound much smarter.

This was also good for some pimping questions. Things like acid-base and electrolytes are kind of hard to remember, but this provides a really good step by step guide to evaluate those problems. Sometimes when the attending is distracted, I'll try to quickly look up info. It also has areas where you can write your own notes, which was really helpful when attendings give small talks about management. I can record some finer points of medical management and have it with me.

As for studying, this isn't a good resource for studying for the shelf. I would recommend Step Up To Medicine, and MSKAP as those provide better details for testing.
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on January 7, 2009
I bought this book when i started my residency in the summer of 2007 only because everybody else did, without knowing what it is or how it could be of any help.
It proved though a valuable assistant when i didn't have have immediate access to Uptodate. It actually saved my day in some Program Director rounds when i sneaked behind another colleauge and found the right answer including the reference - guideline in this book...
It has a lot of evidence based diagnostic and treatment options including very frequently the specific reference - article -guideline which makes your life much easier - you go online and read it 3 hours later, when your patient is feeling better.
Of course my 2007 edition is not the most updated version but yearly updated versions come out and i think a 2009 edition is coming out soon
Its drawbacks include the fact that it does not cover rare diseases/cases you might encounter, and it is not the best of references if you need very specific info on subspecialty topics. For these cases you will need something like the Washington Manual Subspecialty series
It is better than the Washington Manual in that it can fit in your labcoat pocket, but it is including much less details and number of topics.
Overall it is a useful tool for residents/students in Medicine Wards for quick - NOT in depth reference
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on May 7, 2017
Nice format, Hard to obtain information you are looking for. An app would also make sense for this product. Thanks
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on September 4, 2009
Before residency I rotated at many hospitals throughout the US. Washington, Utah, Maine, Alaska....and now as an Emergency Medicine resident, California. In all those places the many interns and students walking the halls had various references in their pockets. This little red book (which was blue before this edition) is the one reference I see continually in many pockets and that I use regularly. Whether on Medicine, EM, Surgery, SICU, etc.... it covers what you need in an easy to read, digest and use format. There is no perfect reference, but this will get you a long way and from what I have seen, most students & residents feel the same. Highly recommended! The ring binder format is nice, allows you to add your own 4x6 note-cards with your own pearls to the sections you want or to mark the sections of patient problems that you are following. The only downside I see is that the pages are very thin and easily tear at the ring binder holes as you flip through the book, but it is so useful I would spend the time fixing these pages because I won't give up this book!
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on March 26, 2016
Great book for on-the-go while in the hospital. Great to use after you see a patient to look up the current recommendations regarding treatment of your patient. Well organized. Will allow you to shine on your internal medicine rotation as a medical student. I also think it will be great to use when I am an intern next year.
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on December 12, 2013
For medical students, this is a very useful reference to have around while you're on rounds, and pretty much covers most of the common things you'll see in the hospital. Fairly easy to read and navigate, and is very good about highlighting the most important points in diagnoses, and management in case you're in a rush. I see my residents using this all the time as well.

Honestly, I would say that this is the best bang for your limited white coat pocket space. I will definitely be using this well into my future residency.
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