Sorry for the short absence from blogging! My Peds rotation was cut a few days short, as I had to make an impromptu trip back to Nebraska for my grandpa’s funeral. I am just starting a new two-week rotation in Anesthesiology, so there isn’t much to report on that yet. However, I thought I’d post a little editorial my Peds preceptor had me write up before I left. Some of it might overlap my last blog about Peds, but here it is anyway! Enjoy…
As a medical student who has already made her mind up to go into Internal Medicine, a month of Pediatrics in the middle of winter did not sound like a lot of fun to me. I had a feeling it was going to be runny nose after runny nose with an occasional cough or sore throat thrown in. Boy, was I wrong! A mere ten days into the rotation, I had already seen a number of rare and interesting cases, including a child with XXYY Syndrome, a little boy with Mastocytosis, a newborn with GA-1 (Glutaric Acidemia Type 1), a teenager with Kallman Syndrome, and a young boy with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome.
I simply couldn’t believe how many interesting cases were walking through the door. Of course, we were seeing a lot of kids with Strep Throats and Upper Respiratory Infections too, but even the most “straightforward” cases in pediatrics present an opportunity to check in with the family and make sure everything is going okay. Sometimes that includes talking to a mother about her child’s overweight BMI, discussing sex and drugs with a budding teenager, or reevaluating a patient suffering from asthma and discovering that they need to step up on their asthma therapy.
My Pediatrics rotation has been anything but boring. It has been so much fun to see interesting cases, but more than anything it has been rewarding to really make a difference in people’s lives. In Internal Medicine it is often too late to affect change. Adults are very set in their ways, and it can be difficult to tell a 60-year-old patient to quit smoking or start eating better. But with kids, they are still pliable. Young children present a unique opportunity to the Pediatrician to encourage healthy habits that can benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Pediatrics is tougher than you think because you never know what case is going to walk through the door! Kids often can’t tell you what is bothering them, so you have to be on top of your game. A good history from the parents and good physical exam skills are crucial to determine if a child is simply experiencing normal symptoms of growing or if there is something seriously wrong. Maybe the baby is teething or maybe these are the first signs of an infection. Maybe this child isn’t speaking yet because he is a late bloomer or maybe he has autism. No case is simple because every case involves multiple layers of thought.
I learned an important lesson during my Pediatrics rotation: that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Pediatrics often gets a bad rap. I know I had this idea in my head that Pediatricians deal with a bunch of snot-nosed kids every day…which they do. But behind every snotty nose is a child who is the most important thing in the world to his parents. And besides, without good Pediatricians, I wouldn’t have any patients someday!
In the past month I have been sneezed on, coughed on, bled on, licked, and even bitten (I’m not kidding)! But it has been a rewarding and wonderful experience. I have enjoyed every minute of Pediatrics, and it has taught me to always keep an open mind. Even if you know what you want to go into, every rotation and every patient can teach you something, and ultimately, help you become a better doctor.