Update: I have warmed up to Bates as the semester has gone on; in several sections ("derm" for instance) it has a better selection and discussion of abnormal illustrations and photos than Mosby. Plus, it is usually more succinct but still gives the meat of what you need to know. Finally, it sometimes organizes assessment advice and abnormal assessments better than Mosby. At this point I would give both books 5 stars-- get the book your course requires. If you are particularly interested in assessment, then get DeGowan as well, or get all three.
Original review: I bought
Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking
and borrowed Mosby's guide, and I have to say that Mosby's Guide to Physical Examination is more detailed (it's also cheaper). For example, it separates the description of what you see in the nasal mucosa and nasal turbinates, giving expected vs. abnormal findings in both, whereas Bate's lumps both together as nasal mucosa. Another difference is that Mosby's groups infant, child, pregnant woman, and older adult assessments close the the adult assessment area, and Bate's has chapters in the back of the book for those assessments. Therefore, continuing the nasal assessment, to fully determine what a pale boggy turbinate might mean in a child, when using Bates one should look in at least two chapters separated by hundreds of pages. On the other hand, if you are doing a systemic pediatric assignment for school, it is somewhat nice to have one chapter in Bates to look through-- in Mosby's one has to look through each system's (cardiac, respiratory, neurologic) chapter at the "children" sections.
The increased detail in Mosby also comes at the expense of a smaller typeface (they both have about the same number of pages and the same margin area for notes).
I am definitely keeping the Bate's, but I'm going to buy a used Mosby to supplement it. Hope this review helps some NP or MD student!
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