On the Wards – Pediatrics

At Orientation I learned that I had been assigned to Pediatrics for my first two weeks before classes begin. Not quite sure what to expect, I followed the directions and found myself sitting in a conference room Monday morning with the rest of the Freshman who had been assigned to Pediatrics.

The group in the conference room also included third and fourth years who were on their Pediatrics rotations. After an orientation to how things were done in the Children’s Hospital, the Attending Physician took sent us off to find the teams we were assigned to. Some first years went to the cardiology consult team, others to the GI team, some to the NICU and others to the PICU.

I, along with one other first year, headed to the Pediatric Teaching Office (PTO). The PTO is located across the street from the Children’s Hospital.

I quickly found out that the PTO is a very relaxing place to rotate through. Over my one week there, most of my time was spent sitting in the office along with the residents.

When the residents did go in to visit patients I was able to go in with them and watch, hand out lolipops, smile, and ask the parents some questions regarding the development of their child. The residents/attendings were really nice about letting me listen to some sounds with my stethoscope. One of the interesting things I had a chance to listen to was a heart murmur that indicated that the patient had a ventricular septal defect.

In between patients, there was not much to do. I did not bring a textbook to study. I would have found it interesting to talk to the 3rd year medical students or even the residents and attendings. But I didn’t want to get in their way. Those not seeing patients were busy looking up things on the internet, reading an article, telling jokes, discussing wedding plans, and describing the latest exciting cases going on across the street in the main hospital.

As a first year it was at times very overwhelming because I had no idea what the acronyms and jargon meant. I couldn’t chime in on the discussions of exotic childhood diseases or advise on the appropriate vaccination for a 6 month old coming in for a “well child check-up.” I did, however, appreciate being able to watch a number of different doctor interacting with their patients. It is interesting to note the different styles — some bad, but mostly good. Those little things will definitely be something to pay attention to as I cultivate my own style in dealing and interacting with patients.

Part of me feels like I just want to get through these first two weeks of “Clinical Experience” and start lectures. At least I will have something to do. And I will know what to do — study. But I realize that once lectures start I will miss the PTO.