Review: The Unofficial Guide to Paediatrics

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The Unofficial Guide to Paediatrics is the latest addition to the best selling ‘Unofficial Guide to Medicine’ series. Similar to its predecessors, this book has been written in collaboration with medical students and junior doctors, with insights from experts in the field.

The book is split into 4 sections, covering core topics, clinical cases, clinical skills and a careers section, ‘becoming a Paediatrician’. The core topics cover the basic knowledge needed to grasp before tackling clinical cases in a succinct, easy to comprehend manner. Ranging from renal medicine to Genetics to Ethico-legal issues in Paediatrics, this book has covered a broad base in great detail and thus achieved what most revision textbooks often fail to do. Most chapters can easily be covered in under an hour, making for a perfect read on a commute or before ward rounds.

With the cases organized in order of difficulty, it is easy to progress through the book and feel like you have finally mastered commonly misunderstood topics. Written in a MCQ style, this section proved useful for revision, especially with important learning points marked out in the explanation. The only drawback to this section was the limited number it offered- seeing as students are always on the hunt for more questions!

The clinical skills section, similar to the Unofficial Guide to Practical Skills book contains a plethora of high quality images that provide a step-by-step guide to what might initially seem like daunting procedures, including cannulas, catheters and LPs. There is also a communication skills section with a couple of cases and patient briefs, as well as a beautifully put together ‘Examinations’ section with a summary of the relevant information next to images of each step.

The final section, ‘Becoming a Paediatrician’ tackles career options and how to get ahead in a career in Paediatrics, including information relating to the application process, examinations and sub-specialties. Seeing as Dr Zeshan Qureshi, a well renowned paediatrician is chief editor of this book, this section is well worth a read for any budding paediatricians out there!

The layout and writing style remains cohesive and methodical throughout, with tables and diagram providing a useful summary of the text. The ‘skin conditions’ section has a couple of excellent illustrations, often more than one of a similar condition laid side by side for comparison.

The Unofficial Guide to Paediatrics is the perfect choice for a quick summary of key concepts for undergraduate exams. Although it would need to be supplemented, it offers a solid foundation to complex concepts you might be grappling with, and is thus highly recommended.

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