Since I was about eight years old, I wanted to become a Pediatrician. Looking back, I think Pediatrician is a popular specialty choice because one of the only doctors we have experience with, healthy or otherwise, is the Pediatrician. Recently, we learned about pediatric development and the pediatric clinical exam. To practice our new found skills, we ventured to various hospitals to shadow a pediatrician for several hours. I really had a blast. My most favorite moment was quoting “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” with a five year-old. There I was, making silly voices with a five year-old while examining his heart and lungs, which shows you that kids are gosh darn resilient. Putting a kid in a hospital takes their childhood away. It is up to the Pediatrician to deliver even just a sliver of fun and life into their hearts. I believe that is why Pediatrics draws a certain type of person that is able to be fun in the face of illness.
Parents are also a vital resource in Pediatrics. They are the ones you interview when a child can’t speak for themselves. I was able to practice my Spanish with the mother for a 3 week old. If you have access to a baby, remember to look for that Babinski response; it is quite something. Ask the baby’s parents’ permission first. Also, though it may sound cynical, Pediatrics has a variety of illnesses that are not seen in adults. Some illnesses or birth defects are so severe that the child will not live to see their adult years. Some diseases you have only seen in books could very well be affecting your next patient. This can broaden your knowledge as a doctor and it could be your job to make those few years the best possible.
Overall, my experiences with Pediatricians have been very positive. You can usually pick a Pediatrician out of a crowd of doctors. I remember attending a Careers in Medicine conference and going to several specialty panels. The Pediatricians were definitely more lively, awake and funny than the emergency physicians and surgeons. Pediatrics can keep you young, making it a great specialty to look into. The main downside is…the parents.