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Ulster Med J. 2010 May; 79(2): 107–108.
PMCID: PMC2993145

Mastering Emergency Medicine: A Practical Guide. 1st Edition

Reviewed by Dr Dobbin Andrew

Mastering Emergency Medicine: A Practical Guide. 1st Edition. Editors:  Trivedy Chetan,  Hall Mathew,  Parfitt Andrew. The Royal Society of Medicine Press. November  2009. Paperback. £39.95 ISBN  978-1-85315-744-8.
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This is a welcome 1st edition text for trainees in Emergency Medicine. Never before has there been such a concise, revision-focused text that aids preparation for the Emergency Medicine clinical exams, at both Membership and Fellowship standards.

This well-designed text is in a format closely based on the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) syllabus. In the 34 chapters, there is coverage of the core curriculum with sections including: Resuscitation, Wound Management, Infectious Diseases, Acid-Base Disorders, Toxicological Emergencies and Psychiatric Emergencies. A chapter on Medico-Legal Aspects of Emergency Medicine encompasses all relevant issues such as: consent, capacity, children in the emergency department, living wills, complaints procedures and confidentiality. Northern Ireland trainees should be aware that the Mental Health Act 1983 applies only to Great Britain and the Mental Health Order 1986 (not covered in this book) applies in Northern Ireland.

Each chapter begins with a list of the ‘core topics’ relating to the chapter title. The core topics are then individually covered using clinical scenarios similar to those encountered in previous OSCE exams. The sample scenarios cover the 5 broad categories encountered in the CEM examinations: clinical examination, skills examination, teaching-based OSCE, communication skills OSCE and the history-taking OSCE. A ‘suggested approach’ outlines why the topic is pertinent to Emergency Medicine and describes a methodical approach to the scenarios enabling the reader to learn a template on which to base further revision and clinical practice. A non-official mark sheet at the end of each scenario may be used as a guide to the expected OSCE standard.

The layout of this book includes shaded boxes highlighting important learning points such as relevant scoring systems, complications and risk factors. The authors use useful mnemonics as a learning aid for those of us who prefer this style of learning. Where relevant, there are external references quoted such as NICE, Toxbase and the Resuscitation Council for further reading.

In summary, no book is a substitute for clinical experience and the coverage of topics in this text is not exhaustive but reading this well-presented and up-to-date text, which has been written specifically for the MCEM and FCEM clinical examination is undoubtedly an excellent adjunct to seeing patients in the emergency department in preparation for the college exams.

Articles from The Ulster Medical Journal are provided here courtesy of Ulster Medical Society