Books for St. Vincent

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4th term was the exception in that you could pitch your tent with one book and live in it. That’s pretty much over now. You have three classes to worry about this term. Pathophys, Pharm, and Hospital (clinical skills).

Merck ManualPathophysiology is not Pathology or Physiology. In Path, everything that was going to go wrong pretty much did and you were left to memorize buzz words. In Physiology, you were an idiot trying to understand the magic of breathing. PathoPhys is much more clinical and could have been named “What do you do with a patient’s chart?” In other words, if you learned Path and Phys, we can assume you know a lot already and can skip the easy stuff. You’ll be given stacks of notes for Renal, Cardio, etc. There is no need to buy a surgery textbook for the surgery lectures, or the Atlas of Diagnostic Imaging for the radiology lectures, and so on. I recommend…

First Aid for the USMLE. The new version is organ-based as opposed to systems-based. Bring whichever you have for review.

Merck Manual. Wow. Description, signs and symptoms, pathology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis. And all of it is well-written. I’m thinking about reviewing for the USMLE with First Aid, Merck, and a toothbrush.

Pocket Robbins as a reference.

Pharmacology (5cr) is to Pathophys (14cr) as Micro (5cr) was to Path (13cr): less organized, poorer notes, and disproportionately difficult for the credits. It’s a review of Neuro, Physio, Micro, Parasitology, Path and Biochem. Remember to bring First Aid. There are three textbooks competing here.

Golan PharmacologyGolan’s The Pathophysiological Basis of Drug Therapy. Well-written book that, in each drug section, gives a review of the Phys, Path, and Biochem before going into the drug actions. There are patients-vignettes at the beginning of each chapter (less cartoonish than Al Martini), little blue boxes that discuss the most current research, and usually a paragraph or two about the history of a drug’s discovery. I’m won over by this book. There are no review questions at the end of each chapter which is a minus if you like that.

Lipincott PharmacologyLipincott’s Pharmacology. If you liked their Biochem book then you’ll probably like this book as well. Everything is simplified (so it is easy to study from and memorize), there are a few review questions at the end of each chapter, and the pictures are funny. Some sections in this book (pharmacokinetics antimicrobials) are not as strong as others and had me looking in Golan for straight answers. While this book is an easy read and helped me get into some difficult sections, I would not recommend it as a stand-alone.

Katzung PharmacologyKatzung’s Pharmacology. As the required text, there is little that is talked about in class that this book does not cover. The graphs from this book are used in class, in the notes, and in the First Aid book. It seems to be the standard bearer. It has all the detail you could ever want, and this makes it a difficult read. There are several review questions at the back of each chapter.

Hospital. Twice a week you will be in the hospital. You need a stethoscope, two pairs of scrubs, one person in your group to bring a PD kit, a white lab coat, some doctor clothing for underneath the white lab coat, and maybe the Pocket Bates. You will be pimped from time to time where the physician will ask you to report the patient’s history, offer differentials, and explain the physics behind an under-water sealed drain for a chest tube (true story). The goal of this course is for you to leave the island capable of taking a patient history by yourself, carrying out a general and systems-based physical exam, reporting your findings while offering differential diagnoses, and not embarrassing the school. Print out the exam checklists from the MacDaddy for review.

2 Responses to Books for St. Vincent

  1. daman says:

    Hey Topher,
    Do you know how to get a hold of term 5/6 mac daddy? Also, i was wondering are there any practice Q books you recommend for pharm & pathophys (pre-test etc.)? Thanks.

  2. Steven P. says:


    I am an 1st semester student at SGU. I’m looking for Mac Daddy, but most ppl say that it was banned on SGU, and no one is willing to give it for me.

    Is there any way you can help me? Thanks

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