#CyberMonday for #illumedati

Ok, ok ok, it’s Medicine Mondays… but it’s also Cyber Monday!

To be honest, the plan was to write a great post about Physician Burnout over the long weekend. I’d have plenty of time to research and write a great post after Thanksgiving right?



Stock Photo from: Pixabay

To be honest, Physician Burnout is a very important topic to me, as is Physician Suicide and Med School Attrition. However, to write those posts require a good amount of research on my part. For pieces like these, which are very complex, and multi-factorial, I like to spent a lot of time writing them. So I’m actually not sure when I’ll be able to get that Physician Burnout post out. Maybe by the end of the year, or maybe early next year.

However, it’s #CyberMonday, and I thought I’d go over a few gifts for those who are pre-medical students, medical students, residents, and young attendings. This is actually more directed toward those who have family members in the medical field.

First things first, while being a physician can sometimes feel like an all-consuming career choice, and you may feel obligated to buy something medicine related for that person in your family…

You don’t have to.

If you want to buy something for that special someone related to medicine, try to limit yourself to one “medicine related” gift.

Pre-Medical Students:

If your Pre-Med is gearing up for the MCAT, then as unpleasant as it is to buy MCAT study materials for the Holidays… it’s pragmatic. They are very expensive, but necessary. Back when I was studying for the MCAT, I took the Princeton Review Course. However, I think nowadays, you just as much material as you can get your hands on to do as well as you can.


MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review: Online + Book (Kaplan Test Prep) Third Edition

Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set, 2nd Edition: 7 Complete Books + Access to 3 Full-Length Practice Tests

Barron’s MCAT Flash Cards Cards

Amazon.com eGift Cards

Are gift cards somewhat impersonal? Probably.

But please trust me when I say a poor college pre-med would prefer a gift card or cash instead of another sweater that they may or may not ever wear.

Med Students:

1st year and 2nd year:

As a 1st year, most of what you are doing is just studying, so any and all study aids are helpful here:

TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp, Gooseneck Table Lamp 7W, Touch Control, 7 Brightness levels

This lamp seems pretty decent and is the #1 Best Seller on Amazon. It’s relatively cheap too.

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2017

This is basically like the Linus’s security blanket for all 1st and 2nd years as they focus nearly all their efforts on doing well on Step 1. If your 1st or 2nd year med student doesn’t already have this, do them a favor and buy them this. If you’re a particular awesome friend or family member, take it to Fed Ex Kinko’s, Staples, or Office Depot or something and get it taken a part and rebound professionally.

This book tends to get a lot of wear and tear over the first two years of medical school and fall apart… and for good reason. There really isn’t anything better (yet).

3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope

This is more for the 2nd years. Around this time, the 2nd year medical students will be able to see the light at end of the at tunnel of class lights 8 hours a day. They may want a reminder that yes, this time next year they will be in the hospital. Getting your stethoscope is kind of like a right of passage. I got my own Cardio III back in 2004, and it’s worked ok for me.

3M Littmann 6163 Cardiology IV Stethoscope

However, there is now a Cardio IV, for those interested. I’m not really sure what the major difference between the III and the IV are.

My wife uses:

3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope

I think it works just fine for those who don’t need all the bells/whistles of the Cardio III and IV.

The major difference is that the Classics used single lumen tubing rather than dual lumen tubing.

It has its own newer model now too:

3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope

3rd year:

For your medical student who just started 3rd year. A few items they should get if they don’t already have them are:

Maxwell Quick Medical Reference

They will use this thing a lot and it fits in the pockets of their short white coat.

Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine

This is the “other one”, for when Maxwell doesn’t have what you need. This is the 6th Edition, and is… orange? I’m pretty sure mine was blue back when I was a 3rd year…

Surgical Recall (Recall Series)

This is the book you want to keep on you to read whenever you have a spare moment on your 12 week surgery rotation. There are a lot of clinical pearls and “common pimping questions” in here.

I’m dating myself again… but I owned the 4th edition which came out back in 2005.

4th year:

For the 4th years there isn’t all that much they need anymore… except travel stuff for interviews, which they should mostly have by now. However, they may need:

First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK, Ninth Edition

First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS 5th Edition

Step 2 should not be anywhere near as stressful as Step 1 was. The old adage was 2 months for Step 1, 2 weeks for Step 2, and #2 pencil for Step 3.

However, I would recommend all you 4th years don’t slack off on this test. If you fail either of them, it may make your prospects of getting into residency. Some medical schools require you to take both tests and pass them before they will award you your degree. Obviously, this then makes it a requirement before you can start your residency.

Every year, at least a few students fail CS, either to overconfidence or just being unprepared. You don’t want to spend the last few months of your 4th year feverishly studying to pass Step 2 CK and CS while the rest of your classmates are cruising through, excited to be starting their residencies. Do the right thing. Be diligent, learn the material and pass the tests… just like you did for Step 1.


This will be different for the different residencies… however, one thing remains:

First Aid for the USMLE Step 3, Fourth Edition

You have to take and pass Step 3 before you can get licensed. Yes, intern year is hard. And yes, you are working long hours and are perpetually tired.

However! Please trust me when I say you are the best prepared to pass Step 3 as an intern. After you move farther into your specialty training, you may be find it harder and harder to remember the general knowledge base required to pass Step 3. You don’t want to be in your last year of residency, with a job ready to go… and then fail Step 3.

Some programs require that you take and pass step 3 before PGY III or PGY IV. Don’t wait. Take it and pass it as an intern.

Ugh… I just looked at my list… and it’s so… sad.

It’s virtually all related to studying. So just a reminder, only buy 1 or 2 items on this list for that special medical person in your family. Except for:

Amazon.com eGift Cards

There is no limit to these. You can buy virtually everything on Amazon (and I do).

For some other non-medical gifts check out:

Holiday Gift Shopping Ideas 2016

Finance Books I Own (Or Want)


For that special pre-medical student, medical student, or resident in your life, the best medicine-related gift is usually study-related.

For this reason, buy 1 of the items above for them, but not more than that.

All other gifts should be non-medicine related.

Cash and Gift Cards are always nice.



Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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