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Handbook of Clinical Skills.
  1. N Lo
  1. Consultant Physician, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester, UK

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    By Jane Dacre and Peter Kipelman. (Pp 320; £14.95.) Manson Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-874545-57-X.****


    As mentioned in the preface, this deceptively little book (with small print) is aimed at young clinicians in training.

    The book is divided into 12 chapters covering all major systems, but has devoted a lot of space to history taking, note keeping, obtaining consent, the nervous system (a common concern for trainees), as well as guidance on psychiatric and paediatric assessment. This is unusual, but extremely useful, when compared with similar books on the market.

    This book is well structured with good “bullet” points, diagrams, and quality coloured pictures making it most easy to read. I was particularly impressed by the inclusion of applied anatomy and physiology before each chapter and the picture format of the checklist for history taking and examination in individual systems. There is also a detailed step-by-step guide on practical procedures—for example, siting an intravenous cannula, setting “the giving set”, performing electrocardiography and lumbar puncture etc, which trainees are expected to know how to perform despite being gradually de-skilled by current NHS practice.

    My only criticisms are that the text tends to be a little long winded and cerebrospinal fluid pressure measurement is omitted in the guide on lumbar puncture procedure. I was surprised at the unnecessary inclusion of the technique of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy when bronchoscopy has not been mentioned.

    Overall, I considered this little gem a worthwhile possession for all trainees, though I am not certain that it is of the right size to be carried in the pockets of their white coats!


    • The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.