In pediatrics, they say that kids aren’t just little adults. They’re special, they’re unique. But when you’re rotating on outpatient pediatrics and you see 20 patients for a well-child check, well, it often feels like the uniqueness of pediatrics isn’t so…unique. As a medical student, here’s what I learned on how to be successful and how to get the most out of outpatient pediatrics.
- Know your vaccine schedules. Hard stop. Yes, these are on apps and charts, and yes, most attendings don’t memorize the chart, but this not only helps you in your assessment of patients, but it will be on your Shelf/CLIPP/ NBME exam. The same goes for developmental milestones. These are the highest yield topics that will help you both in the clinic and on the exam.
- Be ready for lots of questions. Parents often come in with a laundry list of questions, mostly based on worries and concerns they have. Particularly first time parents, or parents of neonates. Be ready to take about developmental milestones and be ready to provide assurances to parents.
- Bring a toy with you to an exam. I used a dinosaur penlight. You’ll be able to conduct most of your exam just be observing and playing with kids.
- They will cry. A lot. Doctors are scary. Be prepared for criers, and don’t let it stop your exam.
Pediatric providers are really passionate and fun people to work with. Not only do they enjoy their work, but also they often think about the social determinants of health. I really enjoyed my time rotating with them.