Hugs and Other Highlights from 2 Weeks on Pediatrics

Paige, Second Year Medical Student

At the end of our first year, all of us “soon to be second years” flooded the hospital wards for 4 weeks of clinical experience.  My top choice for this experience was Pediatrics (no surprise there).  I was absolutely elated to hear that I would be spending my first 2 weeks of clinical rotations on the Pediatric Gastroenterology team in the children’s hospital.

Although I was delighted to finally get some clinical experience in the specialty of medicine that I have had my heart set on joining for my entire life, I was also terrified that I might not actually enjoy pediatric medicine as much as I hoped.  However, all of those fears were immediately subdued as soon as I set foot onto the pediatric wards.  There is something unique about pediatricians; they are fun loving, down to earth, caring, and passionate advocates for their patients.  The team that I was with made me feel right at home and allowed me to use the minimal skills that I had learned during first year to work as a valued part of the patient care team.  I was able to pre-round with the third year student that I was shadowing and perform history and physical exams each morning.  During rounds, our attending would ask us basic science questions that were applicable to our patients and would give us research articles pertaining to the diseases and treatments that we were discussing.  It was absolutely amazing to be able to take an active role in patient care for the first time!

My absolute favorite memory from those incredible two weeks occurred one morning while I was pre-rounding with my third year medical student.  We went to see a young boy with Down’s syndrome who had been admitted the night before for an infection of his G-tube site.  My third year let me run pre-rounds on our patients that morning so it was my job to take the lead on seeing this patient, performing a physical exam, and discussing his history with him and his care providers.  I walked in and excitedly said, “Good morning James*! How are you?”  Without any hesitation whatsoever he immediately gave me a huge grin and held out his arms for a big hug.  Although I’m sure that he would have reached out and hugged just about anyone because of his extremely jubilant and friendly disposition, in that moment, I felt like I was on top of the world. Getting to see James was the highlight of every day that he was on our service.  Each morning was always the same; we would walk in and say, “Good morning James!” and he would respond with excited smiles and affectionate hugs.   James showed me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that pediatrics is the field for me!

*This patient’s name has been changed to protect confidentiality*

I feel so blessed to have had the experiences that I had during my time on the pediatrics ward.  It was incredible to realize just how much we had learned during our first year and how far we had come in terms of being able to understand medicine since the two weeks of clinical experience that we had at the beginning of the school year.  Moreover, these two weeks showed me that pediatrics was in fact everything that I hoped and dreamed it would be, and reinvigorated me with even more passion to pursue a career in pediatric medicine.

Special thanks to the members of Pediatrics Team D for making my time on the ward exceptional

Dr. Yanni – Attending Physician

Dr. Tan – Resident Physician

Dr. Hersch –Resident Physician

Dr. Tsukimoto – Resident Physician

Sharon Wirawan – MS3

Greg Johnson – MS3

Sara Aney – MS3