Any medical student will tell you that they have enormous amounts of material to read and learn, texts full of dry material often poorly-written, disorganized, and unclear. A 2000+ page book on Pathology, a 2000+ page book on Pharmacology, other textbooks, notes, an 800+ page book on Physical Diagnosis… How can anyone expect a student to read and remember everything written in these books?
Although every textbook and source of information is important, a medical student can’t read and absorb everything. Therefore, shorter, more compact, student-friendly, “what you need to know” documents are essential. Medical Exam Essentials provides complementary material that will help students learn quickly and clearly how to examine a patient. It does not replace any of the textbooks, but allows the student to understand the salient features of the texts they are reading.
Why add another set of materials to medical students’ reading lists?
The idea to write brief, concise documents for medical students came from years of teaching a course in Physical Diagnosis: first, at the State University of New York – Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and presently, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Conversations with teaching physicians (both private practitioners and university-based physicians) interns, residents, fellows, and medical students, especially second-year medical students have all led me to the conclusion that short, compact, student-friendly, “this is what you need to know” presentations of different aspects of medical exams were what first- and second-year medical students needed.
Anxious students gain confidence and reduce stress for their initial introductions to real patients when they receive specific instruction on how to perform history-constructing techniques and physical examination maneuvers needed to obtain a thorough history and a comprehensive physical exam. If the student carefully listens to the patient tell his story and then examines the patient, the resulting impression/diagnosis will be more easily developed, comprehended, and presented as the student gains more experience.