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Since 1979, students, residents, practicing physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals have turned to the “Scut Monkey Book” for learning the essential information on basic patient care. The Clinician's Pocket Reference is based on a University of Kentucky manual entitled So You Want to Be a Scut Monkey: Medical Student's and House Officer's Clinical Handbook. The “Scut Monkey” program at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine was first held in the summer of 1979 and was developed by the Class of 1980 to help ease the sometimes frustrating transition from the preclinical to the clinical years of medical school. Based on detailed surveys from the University of Kentucky and 44 other medical schools, the essential information and skills that students should be familiar with at the start of their clinical years was developed.

The “Scut Monkey” program was developed around this core and consisted of a simple reference manual and a series of workshops conducted at the start of the third year. Held originally as a pilot program for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Class of 1981, the program has become an annual event. Each new fourth-year class traditionally takes the responsibility of orienting the new third-year students in basic skills. The program is successful because it was developed and taught by students for other students. Over the years, students have been the main source of feedback for the book, critical to its longevity. Information on the rising third-year “Scut Monkey” orientation program is available from Dr. Todd Cheever, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington.

Over the last ten editions, the book has been continually updated to reflect the dynamic changes in medical care. Because of the demand, it is now on a two-year revision cycle to keep the information as up to date as possible. An attempt is made to cover the most frequently asked basic management questions that are normally found in many different sources such as procedure manuals, laboratory manuals, drug references, and critical care manuals, to name a few. This book is not meant as a substitute for specialty-specific reference manuals; the core information presented is the essential foundation for the new medical student or health care provider beginning to learn hands-on patient care.

The book is designed to represent common medical practices around the country. Over the years, contributors from dozens of medical centers have enhanced the content of the book. The Clinician's Pocket Reference has been translated into many foreign languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. The “Scut Monkey” was honored to have been asked by Warner Brothers, the producers of the TV show “ER,” to be one of the prop books used on their series. The companion manual, the mini-pocket Clinician's Pocket Drug Reference 2007, has been well received and is in its sixth edition this year.

We would like to express special thanks to our wives and children for their patience and long-term support of the “Scut Monkey” project. Our thanks to the team at McGraw-Hill, in particular Editors Jim Shanahan and Harriet Lebowitz, for keeping this book as one of their high priority publications. A special thanks to our administrative assistant Denise Tropea for her support.

A word of eternal gratitude to the past administration of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine: Drs. Kay Clawson, Terry Leigh, and Roy Jarecky, and the then very young faculty member Dr. Richard Braen, who took a chance and supported a group of third-year medical students who wanted to try something a “little bit different” way back in 1978. Thanks also to the hundreds of past contributors, Dr. Michael Olding, and readers who have helped to establish the “Scut Monkey Book” as one of the enduring references for students and residents worldwide. Every medical student at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine since 1979 has received a courtesy copy of this book as a small token of our appreciation for the University's dedication to producing outstanding and caring physicians who serve patients in the Commonwealth and beyond.

We look forward to your comments and suggestions because they allow us to keep the book up to date and useful, an effort that would be impossible if it were not for our readers. We hope this book will not only help you learn some of the basics of the art and science of medicine but also allow you to care for your patients in the best way possible.

Leonard G. Gomella, MD
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Steven A. Haist, MD
Lexington, Kentucky

Visit our web site for complimentary enhanced content for this edition of the Clinician's Pocket Reference.

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