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Greatness and Medical Knowledge

July 16, 2017

Hello everyone:

Great internists know things: can you imagine a great internist who doesn’t constantly read? Like eating, sleeping, and exercising, great internists study every day, even for just a few minutes.

As a resident, my lab coat pocket was stuffed with books; now I have thousands of PDFs in my iPad. Fantastic resources are just a click away. Here are my favorites:

  1. UpToDate: I've written about ARDS for UpToDate for 20 years, so call me a fan. UpToDate is great for practical questions. You can easily search topics and jump to linked articles.
  2. PubMed and Ovid: Both will transport you to key articles. Sign in at the hospital or through Yale's VPN and you can get the full text or PDF for almost any article you need. Use PubMed and Ovid to solve medical mysteries.
  3. Journal Alerts: Sign up for email alerts from the major journals, especially the NEJM, JAMA, JAMA-IM, Lancet, BMJ, and the Annals of Internal Medicine. As your interests focus, sign up for subspecialty alerts: I get the ATS Blue and White Journals, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Intensive Care Medicine, Chest, and several Ethics journals. Alerts are linked to full articles and, even if time is short, you can scan abstracts, editorials, and perspective pieces. These journals are the best sources for definitive reviews.
  4. On Line Journal Clubs: I love NEJM Journal Watch, ACP JournalWise, the JAMA Network Reader, and BMJ.com. Sign up for daily to weekly emails, which summarize and critique key articles and link you to the originals.
  5. MKSAP: This is my favorite study tool, particularly to prepare you for the In Training Exams (ITE) and the Boards. MKSAP offers well-written, concise summaries and questions to make you think. Use MKSAP audio when you’re driving or your eyes are tired. Suffice it to say if you make it through MKSAP, you're likely to ace the exams.
  6. Yale Office-Based Medicine: This is a nationally respected publication edited by members of our General Internal Medicine faculty, with many chapters written by residents. Read YOBM to start the journey to ambulatory expertise.
  7. The Yale Inpatient Curriculum: Assembled by residents under Dr. Dunne's leadership, the inpatient curriculum includes a wealth of clinical vignettes and regularly updates of "must read," "should read," and "could read" articles, which are organized by inpatient rotations. Use the inpatient curriculum to get the most out of your inpatient experiences.
  8. The Cushing Medical Library: Just across Cedar Street, we have a phenomenal collection of books, journals, and databases with dedicated, talented librarians to help you. Did you know our department has its own award-winning librarian? Contact Denise Hersey to learn more.

Some people claim that with so many online resources available, we no longer need to keep working knowledge in our heads. I totally disagree. You need to know things to ask the right questions, recognize unusual presentations, critique what people tell you, and think on your feet. A deep fund-of-knowledge will make you more efficient, help you solve challenging cases, and make your life in medicine more meaningful and fun.

So sharpen your most important tool: choose your favorite resources, study away, and enjoy the satisfaction of being an internist who knows.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone,

Mark

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on July 16, 2017