my first rotation
Attire: Scrubs + Whitecoat Everyday
Hours: 5 days a week (mostly Monday-Thurs + Sunday)
Commute: LONG (roughly 3 hours of driving a day)
Favorite learned procedure: perfecting ear exams on the tiny patients (more of a task than a reader may think)
My future in this field: You’ll have to read through the blog to find out ;)
RECAP: When I found out Pediatrics was my first rotation, this was a HUGE relief. As the majority of my patient care prior to PA school was completed in the Pediatric After-Hours clinic at UF Health.
Before your first rotation, there’s limited information about the site you’ll be reporting to- other than what you can find online (after cyber stalking your preceptor & location) in attempt to try and get a feel of the environment. After all, how bad could my preceptor be if he treats little kiddos all day?
My pediatrics rotation set the bar high for enjoying patient care in the outpatient setting.
The preceptor was incredibly chill, the office staff and nurses were all so nice, and even the pediatrician would give us very helpful lectures when we were slow. To top it all off, almost every day we would receive compliments on our role as student providers from the patient’s families- they were all so grateful for our interest in the healthcare field.
So basically, the transition of what I had been used to in undergrad from recording vitals, taking rectal temps on newborns, administering breathing treatments had changed to now presenting myself as a student provider to the patient and their parents. CRAZY, right?
The first rotation has a way of re-introducing the fact that “wait I’m actually doing this” quite well…and nothing says you’re headed for autonomy like doing history and physical exams on your own with patients!
Things I learned from my Pediatrics [FIRST] rotation:
1. Convincing a child to open their mouth to examine the posterior pharynx is one of the hardest games I’ve had to create within the time span of 10 seconds. Leave this for the LAST portion of your physical exam.
2. There ARE habitual school skippers. Just like the frequent flyers I’m learning about on my EM rotation now, they’re out there & they’re skippin’ school! The more outrageous part of this to me is that the parents of these kids reinforce this behavior, which is hard to wrap my mind around (Background: my parents would’ve NEVER let me skip school unless I was practically dying, Haha). Anyways, just remember you still need to do a full exam on these patients and make sure nothing underlying is of concern- but now ya know!
3. Kids are TOUGH; and not tough to treat, but wow they’re resilient. Even when they’re sick with the flu or strep throat, 99% of the time they’ll be in better spirits than the parents. Although it’s left unsaid, this is likely the most challenging aspect of pediatrics- parents would do anything for their children and when they have the slightest inkling that their babe may be sick they get concerned. This is totally understandable, so assuring the parents what symptoms are to be expected with the patient’s diagnosis is crucial.
4. Involve the parent in to your thoughts for the treatment plan so they know specifically what symptoms to look out for; whether that be progression or deterioration of the patient’s status, INFORM THEM. Not only will this ensure the safest results for the patient’s prognosis but also the parent satisfaction with your decision-making process.
5. YOU (reading this on some type of electronic device) and I ARE SO FORTUNATE. I’m sure I could’ve learned this from any given rotation, BUT- observing differences in levels of education simply because of socioeconomic status, the various living conditions I would observe on my way to and from clinic, and watching the pattern of lifestyle development in this rural clinic really left an imprint on my perspective of health and education. Friends, it is so important that we educate others with every opportunity we can because the reality is that not everyone has ‘fundamental’ health education knowledge that you may presume and each patient is going to have had a different level of experience with health care- be sensitive to this.
6. YOU WILL GET SICK. I was so positive I had my immune system primed and ready for the germs that accompany the population on this rotation- I could not have been more wrong. Take your vitamins, get sleep, and WASH YOUR HANDS. The flu has no mercy, and neither do your lungs when you acquire pneumonia from the false idea that you could be the resilient student.
In retrospect, Pediatrics is definitely in my top three choices of where I can see myself practicing after I graduate. The energy, the positivity, and the patients –honestly, you can’t go wrong. I have found such a passion for tiny humans and the unique level of care they require. But I have SEVEN rotations left to figure this answer out. Stay tuned!
…and whatever you do, DON’T SAY THE “S” word.
PS. EOR Prep Material I used: Rosh Review, Online MedEd, & Pance Prep Pearls.
I made a [very long] study guide based off the PAEA Topic List for Peds and filled in each topic using my Rosh review test question explanations, Pance Prep Pearls, and The 5 Minute Clinical Consult that I hope to upload soon as a link for all who are interested!