Saturday, April 07, 2007

FAQ #28: What Books Do You Use for the NMS and GI Blocks?

Before I start talking about books, just a word about the NMS block. You will have this ballbuster of a block right after you get back from winter break. The work load will be absolutely ridiculous and impossible to finish. Don't worry about it. None of us were able to finish all of that reading either. Probably not so coincidentally, this is also when Cleveland's weather takes a turn for the worse and makes you wish you had never come back from sunny California or sunny Arizona or sunny Mexico or anywhere else you went for break where the sun actually shines and you're not stuck scraping snow off your car every day. Hang in there, first years. This is the worst that things are going to get this entire year. Just take NMS one day at a time, and don't get too discouraged.

Cartilage, Bone, and Muscle:
You really don't need to buy any books for this part of NMS. It's only three weeks long, and the books they assign the readings from are available on reserve in the library. Unless you're sure you want to go into orthopedics, save your money. I'll warn you though that the books they assign are both abominable, especially the Buckwalter one. (The Favus book was bearable, but only relatively in comparison to the Buckwalter book.) I wound up not using either book too much. Instead, I read another book that I got out of the CCF library. It's called Musculoskeletal Medicine by Joseph Bernstein. Read the first 100 pages of that book during the first three weeks of this block, and that will cover your anatomy and physiology. Speaking of anatomy, the anatomy portion of this part of the block is especially ridiculous. We covered the arms and the legs in three weeks. It's not even close to being long enough to learn the subject, and there's no way you can keep up with all of the reading Dr. Drake is going to assign. Again, don't worry too much about it. None of us could keep up with it either. You'll be able to go back at other points on your own or in PBL and review some of these things.

Except for a few of my classmates who are really into neuro, most of us struggled a lot through this part of the NMS block too. Here are my book suggestions:

Neuroanatomy, A Programmed Text by Richard Sidman. This is not on the CCLCM book list, but it should be. It's a fill-in-the-blank kind of workbook. You finish one section, flip it over, and start on the next. I wish I had bought this book sooner. Get a copy during renal block and start working through it over winter break. It's actually fun to do, and it will really make your life a lot easier.

Neuroanatomy Through Clinical Cases by Hal Blumenfeld. This is the required neuroanatomy book. I actually really like this book. Unfortunately, the anatomy people start you out reading chapter 7, and that's not such a good place to start if you've never studied neuroanatomy before. It's super helpful to at least read chapters 1 and 2 before you tackle the anatomy reading assignments. Also, read chapter 3 and view the associated website videos before you do the neuro exams in your physical diagnosis class. And if you have time, chapter 4 covers the radiology.

Neuroanatomy: an Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems by Duane Haines. You could probably get by without buying this one. There are plenty of copies in the anatomy lab which you have access to 24-7. I did get a copy, but I didn't use it much. This was not because the atlas wasn't good. I just didn't have the time to read it.

Principles of Neuroscience by Eric Kandel. There is a new fifth edition coming out next year. If you want to go into neuroscience, Kandel's book is the neuroscience bible. But I would suggest waiting for the new edition to come out before you buy it. If you don't want to buy the book, you can definitely get by fine without it. Most of us just printed out the assigned chapters from the online version that we can access through the CCF library. I'm thinking I may buy the new edition once it comes out. I found this book to be pretty readable and interesting.

GI Block:
I didn't really use any special books for GI block except for a free GI atlas that I got from a drug company. You'll be fine with the regular anatomy, physiology, and histology books. GI block is a welcome respite from NMS. It's too bad though that they don't do GI first before NMS. We suggested that they switch the order in the future at the feedback meeting, so maybe you guys will luck out.


Anonymous said...

i know it's kind of a dumb question to ask, but i was wondering, as someone thinking of applying to cclcm next year, where most of your M3's want to do residency? I know that for a lot of places, people just go to residency the same place they went to med school (that is, most stanford med students go to stanford, harvard to harvard, etc..)

do most m3's intend on staying at the clinic? also, what do you think the odds are of a cclcmer, who wanted to see something else, getting to let's say MGH for internal medicine?

i suppose this is a dumb question to ask because the reply will contain many assumptions and there's really no way to answer it. but id appreciate hearing your thoughts (feel free to include a disclaimer that it's totally all opinion/speculation). thanks.

Anonymous said...

how much do u spend, overall, on books for a year?

CCLCM Student said...

Question about matches: It's not a dumb question, but it's one that doesn't really have an answer. It's pretty hard to answer this question even for schools that have been around a lot longer than our program has. And then our first class won't even be applying yet for over another year. This is a five year program, so they'll be applying as M5s, not M4s. I don't think a lot of them have even decided what specialties they want to do yet, let alone where they want to do them. :-P

My feeling is that people tend to go for residency near where they are from, or else where they want to end up practicing. The students who are from western states and attend California schools like Stanford will often want to do residencies in Cali. Students who are from New England will tend to want to be in New England. And so on. Several of the students here are from the Midwest, so they'd be more likely to stay in Cleveland. But I think that those of us who are from places like Cali have every intention of going home some day.

As for how easy it will be to do, I obviously can't really tell you from personal experience or even vicarious experience. Even if we had a match list to look at, reading match lists is really tough, because you don't usually know where people wanted to end up. If CCF was their top choice and they got CCF, then that's a great result, and ditto for other students who rank their own med schools first and wind up matching there.

What I CAN tell you is that the faculty seem very confident that we can go wherever we want. I get the impression that personal references are very important for residency apps, even more important than letters of recommendation were for med school apps. If that really is true, I don't think it would be a problem to go to MGH for IM. One of the big advantages of a small school like this is that we get to work with the faculty so closely. The students who have applied for external research fellowships have done very well. Two of the M3s got Howard Hughes fellowships, which is really prestigious.

Anyway, I don't know if that answers your question. But if you're interested in applying here, I would say that you should go ahead and come here and check the school out. I wasn't initially planning to come here, but this school has a way of wowing a lot of people.

CCLCM Student said...

Second question: Book costs. It varies by block and by person. You will have to spend more money up front to get the thread books (anatomy, physiology, etc.). But you can get by without getting your own copies of most of the books if you don't mind reading them in the library. They're all on reserve there. A few of my classmates do that. The library is just upstairs from the med school in LRI, so it's definitely doable. The other thing you can do is buy books used from upperclassmen or on line. Don't buy them at the bookstore, because they charge more. I like to find good book prices. Check it out. You can get your college books on line too.

I tend to be a book buyer. I'd guess that I've probably spent maybe $1500 total? I don't know exactly, but that seems like it would be in the ballpark. Med school book prices make college book prices look almost reasonable. :-P