Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine

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Summary of review


What can I write about the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine? It has become the most used book I have ever owned, and combined with the oxford handbook of clinical specialties it makes a killer combination.
Whatever topic you come across that is relevant for you as medical students; you can find it in the handbook, detailing its clinical picture, investigations and management. The management section in particular, is better than most other books because it orders the different strategies into some sort of order, and stepwise management. The photos too, add a lot, as they give relevant, clear signs that are reproduced by patients. Its main attraction though is how concise and varied it is! Some people complain that some topics aren’t covered in this handbook and they need to bring the clinical specialties handbook with them as well, but as a medical student, you generally know what firm you are on, and I would much rather carry two small books in my bag than one huge one!
One downside is that in being so concise is that it does presume/require a lot of prior knowledge. For example if quickly looking up mitral regurgitation before seeing a patient, you read “Control rate if fast AF”, and you find yourself mentally screaming “HOW! HOW DO YOU DO THAT!” before rapidly flicking through the book to find the answer elsewhere. As well as that, it often lists clinical signs or investigation results, with no explanation of how the condition leads to these findings.
I am being seriously picky with these criticisms though, and they take very little away from the book as a whole. You can see they have addressed some of these problems in parts, for example there are introduction pages at the start of each speciality. However more importantly for me, explanation isn’t its purpose. Like many other students I use the book as a quick reference/recall and revision tool, and for that it is (for lack of a better word) perfect. Every medical student in their clinical years should own one of these, and I think most of them already do! If you don’t you are missing out, click on the link and order!
Review by Paddy Green
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