EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Teaching & Learning in Medicine, Instruction: Tutorials on Physical Exam

Performing a good physical examination and obtaining an accurate history from the patient takes a certain amount of time, regardless of your level of experience or ability. In addition, get in the habit of checking the primary data yourself, obtaining hard copies of outside studies, mining the old records for information, re-questioning patients when the story is unclear, and in general being tenacious in your pursuit of clinical relevant material.  While this dogged search for answers is not too sexy, it is the cornerstone of good care “.

Source: Excerpted from “A Few Thoughts“, on techniques of physical exam, written by Dr. Charlie Goldberg, clinical faculty at University of California San Diego School of Medicine


Learning (and then practicing) effective techniques for performing a structured physical exam and taking a complete medical (and family) history from patients fills a special block in the curriculum of first year medical or dental students.

Many medical schools in the U.S. and Canada have placed portions of their curriculum about learning practical PE and history-taking techniques on the web (at no cost) for students worldwide to benefit from reading or viewing.

As 2008 winds down, I have collected a few of these tutorial/training sites which may augment students’ hands-on PE or history-taking skills:

  • University of Connecticut Health Center clinical faculty have created a series of tutorials, designed for use by medical students, on how-to-examine a patient.  The series, divided into various organ systems, emergency or integrative medicine is entitled The Connecticut Tutorials.  Here is the link to the nine individual streaming videos, which are:  Series Introduction, Emergency, Neurology, Cardiology, Pulmonary, Musculoskeletal, Abdominal, HEENT and Integrative.  Each video runs between 7 and 25 minutes in length.  They are available as streaming video (for free).
  • I’d like to recognize Dr. Ves Dimov, author of Clinical Cases & Images, who is a consumate educator and has given me many ideas on how and what to present on this blog throughout the year (including radiology).  He has posted a list of PE tutorials on his site. Thank you!


Finally… a keyword search on YouTube.com this week for “medical procedures” turned up an extensive retrieval list – but I can’t vouch for their accuracy or comprehensiveness.  There are quite a few of them available to watch – but caveat emptor… Some of them are pretty thin on facts or credible medical advice! Here are two examples:


  • Springhouse Corporation (a major publisher of clinical nursing or allied health textbooks) has put up a series of videos on YouTube.com for nursing students entitled “Head to Toe Assessment“, which are generally between 8-10 minutes in length.  You can watch one of the training videos here:


This is ‘almost’ the final post for 2008, folks.  Thank you so much for reading my blog this year! Please have a safe and happy Holiday season.

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