started rotations, what to focus on in study?

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Mar 20, 2003
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I'm in my IM rotation right now and feel like my focus is too spread out in terms of studying. I have a bunch of books like first aid for wards, IM recall, First aid step 2 ck. I feel like I have to study everything, but I'm not sure which book to use. The way I go about it right now, I look up stuff on a patient I saw the day of, then maybe some concepts I don't understand. Anymore advice?


Always read about what condition your patients have. Use a text like Cecil's Essentials for this type of reading as a review book isn't going to be detailed enough for patient care. You need to understand the details of the care of every patient that you are taking care of.

Use First Aid for the Wards to give you an idea of the breakdown of the big topics on this rotation such as Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Pulmonology, Infectious Diseases, Endocrinology, Neurology and others (Heme-Onc, Rheumatology, Allergy/Immunology). Do some regular reading on each topic under the majors on a daily basis and check off topics as you get them covered. You might even tear some pages from your review books to keep in your pockets for those down times on the wards.

I used Cecil's Essentials for my daily rotation reading (at home) and studied pages from IM Recall on a regular basis. IM Recall was my review of my textbook reading. I read at least 30 minutes every day until I had covered all of the topics that made up Internal Medicine.

Just before the shelf, I focused on Cards and Pulmonology(more represented). I also made sure that I knew the details of treating diabetes, congestive heart failure, respiratory failure and pneumonia as these were the most common things that we dealt with. I did very well on the shelf and in the rotation with three resources. (As a question book, I carried pages from MKSAP for Medical Students in my pocket). It was tough to use at first but well worth the effort in the end.

I didn't use a Step II book until it was time to review for Step II. I just didn't have that much time to use several different resources for one rotation. Ask some of your classmates about other good resources but most of us felt that we needed a rotation text like Cecil's Essentials + a review book.
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