Since the invention of the white coat, physicians have crammed its pockets with medical resources. Every medical student has a the same red notebook (The Massachusetts General Hospital “Pocket Medicine”). Every infectious disease specialist has a Sanford Guide to antimicrobials. And most physicians I know carry a thumb drive with important PowerPoint presentations and landmark journal articles in their field.
The library of resources can be even more cumbersome for residents. I want to constantly learn. I keep a urology pocket guide in my white coat and an American Urological Association (AUA) review book in my backpack. Next to my desk is another pile of textbooks and AUA News magazines.
… Until I bought an iPad mini. Now all those resources are with me every moment of every day.
I review surgical anatomy and pathology between cases and then save my attendings’ operative techniques in Evernote. I record entire Grand Rounds lectures to MP3 and take photos of the most interesting slides. I educate patients at the bedside with the DrawMD app or simple Google Images search.
Nothing in medicine is out of reach when I have the iPad mini in my white coat pocket. When it’s time for a OR, I slip the iPad mini in the back pocket of my scrubs.
Traditionalist may say my generation is too reliant on technology. Some of that assertion may be true. But I’d argue instant access to the handful of resources I trust is overall good for my education. And good education strengthens training for me and improves care for my patients.
Christopher Bayne is a urology resident at The George Washington University. He keeps a blog called Urinalysis and Tweets at @CBayneMD.