Pediatrics: Another Look

As I struggle to figure out what my true calling is in the field of medicine, I find that my rotation at the Children’s Specialty Clinic at Avera has thrown my perception of the Pediatrics field.

The truth is, I never really considered Peds. I mean, I like kids and all. But I don’t love them, you know what I mean? Not long ago, during a family practice preceptorship, I was following the FP and he had a baby with a fever come into the clinic. For some reason this case woke me up from my shadow sleep walk that I was doing all that afternoon. But I couldn’t put my finger on why. It wasn’t the interesting-ness of the pathology, or the baby. Something was just slightly more engaging about that doctor-patient interaction than any of the others I had seen that afternoon.

Fast forward to the Children’s Specialty Clinic a few days ago. I was again more fascinated with the clinical cases I saw, and I think I have put my finger on why. The parents. Dealing with parents is one of the main reason why many upon many kid loving medical students decide that pediatrics is just not for them. But I found parents to be interesting, and their questions challenging.

At the risk of sounding like a moron/too inexperienced/whatever, my short time with adult services has left me with a taste of apathy. When asking an adult patient when their last surgery or clinic visit was mostly an answer of, “oh a few months ago” or “maybe like 2 years ago.” Whereas when a parent of a peds patient would answer a similar question they would surely pull out some list and say, “the middle of March 2008.”

But parents weren’t just better and more precise at the history, they were more engaging and seemed to take advice more seriously. When suggesting an adult to maybe tip the head of the bed up at bed-time for GERD and avoid pizza or other fatty foods, an adult may nod and agree. But I feel as though an adult patient is always thinking in the back of their mind, “yeah yeah, I know how to eat and sleep just give me the pill I need, and I’ll be on my way.” It was my impression that parents took this little advice more seriously. Parents also asked more specific questions, which in my opinion demands that the clinician knows what he/she is talking about and will keep him/her sharp.

Obviously I haven’t logged a lot of hours on the pediatric or medical floors. This is all based on an impression I got after a very short period of time. So at the risk of sounding naive and inexperienced, that’s my current opinion about peds.

*I will try to remember to bring this post back up during my third year pediatric rotation.