A Problem-Orientated Approach
Edited by Alfred Tallia, Joseph Scherger and Nancy Dickey
What we call General Practice in this country, is also called Primary Care and sometimes Family Medicine here and elsewhere. I will settle on the description of primary care for the rest of this review and although every speciality considers itself large, NHS Primary Care certainly fits that description in this country. It is large in terms of numbers of staff utilised and in terms of breadth and depth of the topic areas as Primary Care can cover a huge number of specialties. This makes keeping up to date a big undertaking which is very important, and we all have our own ways of handling this crucial activity.
This book is American in origin and is geared up for preparing candidates for American exams but is still very useful for a UK based health care practitioners such as a GP or an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. It is not a textbook that reviews clinical topics in a traditional way. The clue is in the title “A Problem-Orientated Approach”
The reader is presented with a clinical case then presented with a number of multiple of choice questions and you are asked to choose an answer. Importantly, the answers are accompanied with a concise but helpful and educational commentary which are presented shortly after the question within the same chapter. At the end of the chapter, there is usually a summary of the key learning points. For many people, this is a great way to revise for an exam, learn about a topic, or update your knowledge in a way that suits you. Of course, this method will not suit everyone, some people prefer a traditional textbook and there are plenty around that will match their needs and their budget.
However, there are not many books like this written for primary care and there is plenty of subject matter here for a global audience, even though it is of American origin and written in mind for American exams. At the beginning of the book, there is a page of “Tips on passing the board examinations” (Page 14) and these tips are good enough to apply to many exams, and not just medical. So, this page is well worth reading for those that are sitting exams.
I liked the fact that the questions, answers and clinical summary of the problem are all close to each other, so that you are not running between very disparate pages throughout the book. This means it is easy to review a specific topic in a relatively short and easy to review chapter. The book is now in a 9th edition and so hopefully any problems or issues have been ironed out well before now. There is an impressive and varied array of contributors to the book giving it a good, rounded contribution to medical education. Importantly, I found the book easy to use and learning diffused across to me without too much difficulty.
I think the book is good value for money and with it comes, priced into the purchase cost of the book, the publisher’s traditional easy to use web and app offering. This offers portability of use when on the move and you have spare time to dip into the contents of this excellent book.
Dr Harry Brown
16th December 2021