Disclaimer: I am not being paid to write this, nor am I related to any of the authors. I'm also not selling the books on Amazon (though am thinking of trying to unload Frank's Pokemon guides there if he doesn't get them out of the living room).
Fizzy (writing as Freida McFadden), purveyor of high-quality medical cartoons. I am, I must admit, somewhat jealous. Writing a book about the insanity of my practice was always on my to-do list, but as the years went by it became pretty obvious that I'd never have time to do it. So the book became my blog, and is a work in progress until I hang it up.
Anyway, Fizzy wrote The Devil Wears Scrubs. (Available from Amazon here). It details what is likely the most terrifying part of a medical career: the first 1-2 months of residency. Yes, you may have the title "doctor," but that doesn't mean you have a clue as to what's going on. Far from it. And you are more terrified than you have ever been in your life.
The tribulations are familiar to anyone who's done a medical internship: malignant senior residents, brown-nosing co-interns, eccentric attendings, nurses that run the gamut from supportive to hostile, and, in her case, a psychotic roommate (the last didn't apply to me, as I lived alone). Other things she learns to deal with (which are still big issues as an attending on call) are desperately trying to find time to pee, grabbing something to eat before you die or the cafeteria closes, and getting 10-15 minutes of sleep every 24 hours.
I found it to be an accurate, and funny, portrayal of intern life (except I wasn't dating a hunky surgeon).
The second book I read a few years back, but have always meant to write about. Although written by a doctor, it has nothing to do with medicine.
It's by Dr. Doreen Orion, and is a true story called Queen of the Road. She and her husband, both psychiatrists, gave up their practices for a year and bought a bus to drive around the continental U.S. (and a little of Canada) with a dog and 2 cats. The book is an entertaining combination of travel adventures, humor, and personal observations, as well as commentary on shoes, unusual local attractions, a bitchy GPS system, and, at one point, a nudist colony (I SWEAR!). Dr. Orion and I also shared the same curiosity about frost heaves when we first saw a sign warning of them (she thought they were some sort of monster, I thought they were an illness induced from overeating ice cream).
I loved Dr. Orion's book. As a veteran of many North American road trips, as a kid, as a single guy, and now as a parent, I sympathize greatly with her musings and adventures.
The last book, of course, is the one I can never emphasize enough, especially to medical students and residents. It is the one I refer to as the Bible, and is written by my medical idol, Oscar London, M.D.
It's Kill as Few Patients as Possible, and is a collection of 57 essays. Brevity is the soul of wit, and in its few pages an aspiring physician will find a bounty of practical knowledge to use in a career. The book is a bit dated in some ways (drug reps no longer give away free pens), but it also has a certain retro charm. It is, for example only available in a format that the ancients called "paper." This connection, like the 2400 year-old Hippocratic Oath, helps tie us to the ancient physicians of yore. Those long-gone days when someone had to go find a huge copy of a PDR lying around a nursing station to look something up, use a Yellow Pages to find a pharmacy's number, and radiology images were printed on a silver-based substance called "film" (yeah, that was my residency).
Happy reading! It's a great use of your occipital cortex!