Rosen comes as a 3 volume set (6th Edn), containing 3,179 pages of text. It is huge. It is unweildy and impractical. It is however one of the better reference texts in Emergency medicine.
This book is set out slightly differently to most texts, in the way the chapters are divided up. There is an extensive section on “Cardinal Presentations” which works through the causes, differential diagnoses and management of a long list of common ED complaints, and other sections on Resuscitation, Trauma, Medicine & Surgery (divided into systems/specialties), Toxicology, EMS, Administration and more. Overall the book is very wordy, with long-winded paragraphs of text, and there is a distinct lack of useful summaries/lists, however the layout is very easy on the eye, the text is easy to read (and much less dense than Tintinalli) and there are lots of high quality illustrations and radiology images.
It’s worth mentioning a section of this book that many textbooks lack, and that is the approach to Special Populations of ED patients, including Paediatric, Obstetric, Immunosuppressed, Transplant, Alcoholic, Disabled, as well as the patient in pain, and problem patients. This classification and the detailed approaches they describe are an excellent way to start thinking about patients once you become a consultant, as there are many pearls in these sections that will alert you to the special needs, often missed problems and unique characterisitics of these patient groups. This approach will also come in handy in the VAQ & SAQ section, where you are often required to recognise a “special population” patient and have a comprehensive approach. This is one of the strenghts of Rosen.
On the downside is the sheer size of it. It is an enormous book, and to use it as your main study manual could lead you into difficulty trying to simply get through it. If you do manage it, congratulations! However most people wont be able to find the time to wade through all of the text. It’s best use is as a reference book, and is excellent for gaining conceptual understanding if you are struggling to get your head around a certain topic, it is likely that Rosen has a well phrased (if somewhat long-winded) explanation.
As with all books printed overseas it does contain many American-isms, so be wary of these, as well as variations in the management of certain conditions compared to local practice, so don’t take every word as gospel.
In summary Rosen is an excellent resource, and although very expensive, if you are the type of learner who likes reading explanations rather than lists, and you like neat, well presented illustrations, you will find it a useful set of books to keep on the shelf during your preparation. If you don’t fit this category of learner you may still find it useful, especially as mentioned the sections on “Special Populations”. You could just go to your hospital library and summarise or read these sections.
The 7th Edition has just come out, and if you purchase/register with Expert Consult, you get a fully indexed, searchable onilne version of the book, which has been extensively updated. You also get a question-and-answer review section with over 1100 questions that enables you to brush up on key information in a quick and convenient manner. This is an excellent way to use this book, as you can access it quickly while you are at work, and rather than thumbing through 2 or 3 volumes to find what you are looking for you simply to a search. It’s almost worth forking out the money just for this utility, as not many medical textbook publishers have learned about this interweb thingy that every other industry cottoned onto years ago.