With support from the Arthritis Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline, SIU School of Medicine has purchased enough copies of the Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases for each of you to use during your clerkship rotation. Please treat the Primers well and be sure to return them so your fellow classmates can use them. At the present time, I do not know if we can order more Primers. Since they need to be ordered in bulk, if ten or more of you would like to order your own copy, let me know. I anticipate the price would be ~$11 each.
I will provide a reading list from the Primer to those of you rotating on the rheumatology service. For those of you not rotating on rheumatology (shame on you), I recommend that you read at least the following chapters:
Evaluation of the Patient
Musculoskeletal Signs and Symptoms
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Rheumatoid Arthritis - A Molecular Understanding, Ann Intern Med. 2002;136:908-922
I obviously hope you will be able to read more than this, but this will be a good start. Be particularly vigilant to read chapters based on the problems your patients have.
I recommend that you try reading some chapters backwards. For those chapters with an epidemiology, pathology, and pathogenesis section, I recommend reading the clinical and treatment sections first. As you read the clinical section, give some thought about what pathophysiologic features could underlie the clinical manifestations. Then read the pathophysiology section with the clinical features clearly in your mind and think about how well (or poorly) the pathophysiologic explanations fit the clinical findings. After you have the pathophysiologic constructs in mind, I recommend re-reading (or at the least skimming) the clinical sections in an effort to put the clinical and pahophysiologic features together. Give it a try. What have you got to lose? For those of you who try it, let me know whether or not you find this approach valuable.