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How do I become a neonatologist?

Discussion in 'Pediatrics' started by CTH3989, Jul 1, 2004.

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  1. CTH3989

    CTH3989 Junior Member

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    Hi. My name is Chelci and this upcoming school year I will be a sophomore. I'm getting a late start on what I want to be and I was wondering what courses in high school should I take to become a neonatologist? Also, What should I major and minor in? I am completely lost at how to make my dreams come true. This upcoming school year I will be taking Geometry, Advanced band, Biology, Spanish 3, World History, Honors World Lit, health and maybe beginners nursing. Are those courses good? I only have two years of high school left. Should I drop band and start doubling up?


    Chelci
  2. rad_one

    rad_one Member

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    To become a neonatologist, one must graduate from college (4 years), medical school (4 years), then do a 3 year pediatrics residency, and lastly a 3 year (I believe) subspecialty fellowship.
  3. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    moving to peds forum
  4. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.

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    First, get into college. Second, get into medical school. Then worry about what you want to do. You will probably change your mind another six times in college anyhow, most do.
  5. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Dear Chelci:

    Although I must admit is is tempting to tell you that at (?15) you're not exactly getting a late start, I will be glad to give you a more serious answer.

    First, although many people do change their minds frequently about career goals, others do not. Certainly, there is no harm in settinng a goal and going for it. I have talked to several high school students who had a goal of becoming neonatologists. Why not? Would it seem odd to hear someone in high school say they wanted to be a surgeon?

    With regard to classes and majors and minors, as you will see from reading the board here, in general it doesn't much matter exactly what classes you take in either high school, or to some degree, even in college. As long as you maintain a solid science background (taking chemistry, physics and advanced math), and do well, there is no strong need to take any other specific classes in high school to get into medical school or become a neonatologist.

    What is more important, is learning skills and gaining experience so that you can show colleges and medical schools that you have a balanced background and are sure of your goals. So, specifically, I would encourage you to stick with band if you enjoy it and continue developing your language skills. I think that becoming fluent in Spanish is more important than an extra science course. Although your patients may not speak Spanish in neonatology, lots of their parents will.

    Finally, although they do have their pros and cons, their are several colleges that offer varying versions of "direct" admit programs to medical school and college at the same time. These generally offer a conditional acceptance to a specific medical school based on some pre-set level of college performance. They are fairly competitive and usually look at a range of personal characteristics, not just grades and SAT scores.

    You may have already spent time volunteering in a Children's hospital or ward, if not, why not do that too. Find volunteer activities you like and stick with them.

    Oh yes, as I'm sure you noted elsewhere in this discussion group, neonatology is a specialty that follows pediatric training, not obstetric training

    Regards

    "oldbear professor"


  6. CTH3989

    CTH3989 Junior Member

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    Thank you very much. That was very helpful. I have one more question. When I volunteer how does that go on my record? How will colleges know?




    Chelci
  7. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    Either they will directly ask you about volunteering or extra curricular activities on their application, or you can put it in any space that is asking for "more information" about yourself.
  8. CTH3989

    CTH3989 Junior Member

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    Ok. Thank you. Do I have to become a pediatrician first before I become a neonatologist? What exactly will my titles be as I am going through school.

    For ex. During my first four years of undergraduate school will I be pre-med? Will I need to get my B.S.N? Once I get to medical school will I be studying to become a pediatrician and then studying to become a neonatologist?


    Thanks a lot.



    Chelci
  9. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.

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    In college you can major in anything you want as long as you complete a year of biology, inorganic chemistry, physics, math and english. You don't need a BSN. Then you have to get into med. school. After four years in medical school, you graduate with an M.D. Then you must work for three years in residency as a pediatrician. Then work for, I believe, 1-2 years in a neonatology fellowship. Total time post-highschool is 12-13 years.
  10. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member

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    Neonatology is a 3 year fellowship. All pediatrics fellowships are three years.

    Ed
  11. CTH3989

    CTH3989 Junior Member

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    Ok. Thank you.


    Is is possible that I can major in education and minor in music and still take biology, inorganic chem, physics, math, and english and go on to med school but if I decide to change careers I can be a music teacher? Will I have enough time for that in college?



    Chelci
  12. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.

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    It's possible. You'll have to work harder, but it is possible. Also, I forgot to mention a year of organic chemistry as well.
  13. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member

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    You should be able to do this. You should check with your state requirements for teaching, however. Most states require that you major in a subject to teach it. Be forewarned, however: I have several friends who are music teachers -- the jobs are difficult to get.

    Here's what you need to do about medical school. Major in what you want to. There will be thousands of bio majors but not many in music. Get high grades. Find out who the easy prerequisite profs are and take their classes. Take summer school to lighten your class load. Do stuff other than school to broaden you application (music is good). Consider taking a year or two off before applying if you feel like it.

    Ed
  14. CTH3989

    CTH3989 Junior Member

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    Ok. Thank you very much.
  15. Tia842

    Tia842 Tia

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    That's cool I want to be a Neonatologist also Quick question so basically you have 12-14 years of schooling. I am wondering is it worth all those years? I want to be a Neonatologist but I get side tracked of a question "After all that schooling will I still enjoy my occupation..." I was wondering if I could get some advice of my questions.. I am sorry if I totally don't make sense I am very tired today and just got done finishing 6 hours of homework:-/ One more question is it possible to do school for veterinarian and a neonatologist?
  16. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    Vet school is a completely different process from medical school. If you want to be a neonatologist, then you'd go to medical school.
  17. TexasRose

    TexasRose Gotta run Moderator Emeritus

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    probably the most logical way to answer that question. ;)
  18. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    I try my best :D
  19. doc05

    doc05 2K Member

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    I wonder if these posters are real high school students?? In any event, how and why would any teenager want to become a neonatologist? It is not anything like babysitting your little nieces and nephews, kids. neonatology is a grueling, thankless profession in which you deal with very very sick babies; many don't get better and those that do often won't end up completely "normal." Hat's off to those who can do this work...
  20. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    The most talented people I've ever seen at putting in lines in tiny babies were some neonatologists who catheterized fetal sheep for cardiopulmonary research in the 1980's. That's about the closest connection I can come up with.

    To Tia842:

    Yes, it is worth it.

    Regards

    "oldbear professor"
  21. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    You're certainly entitled to your opinion of neonatology, but it is not rare to be greeted warmly by families of former NICU patients in the malls, etc. Sometimes it's embarrassing that they remember me and I've forgotten them.

    Last year, I was at a college football game and a high school senior came up to me with her family to say hi. She had been 24 weeks and 595 g at birth and I had taken care of her as a neonatal fellow in 1985. She was valedictorian of her class and applying to that college. To be fair, I'd seen her a few years ago and hers is a remarkable story, but not the only similar one I know of from that era.

    I am NOT saying that all or even most of our outcomes are that great for babies that small. Only that I have NEVER thought of neonatology as "thankless" based on the immense kindness and appreciation I have seen from many (not all, but more than you might think) families both during and after their child's hospitalization.

    regards

    "oldbear professor"
  22. TexasRose

    TexasRose Gotta run Moderator Emeritus

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    Thankless? You haven't had any contact with parents whose children have had good outcomes (and there are many) if you think it is a thankless profession. Many people don't care for it, and that's fine. But I disagree with that particular characterization.
  23. doc05

    doc05 2K Member

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    Are you serious? I used "thankless" because, relative to other specialties, neonatologists put in so much - physically and emotionally - in comparison to what they get in return. How many of their patients can thank them?

    On a more serious note, what exactly is a good outcome? numerous studies show that the very-low-birth weight children that are "saved" end up with cognitive and other disadvantages that persist into adulthood. Maybe it's just me, but cerebral palsy, reactive airways disease, and severe cognitive deficits aren't my idea of a good outcome. There's no sense citing a few cases of children you know who've done well, because they are clearly the exception to the rule.

    More importantly, my post was directed at the high school kids who cannot possibly understand the seriousness of a neonatologist's work. Instead of nitpicking over word choice, perhaps you could share some insight as to why you skipped over the OP's concerns?
  24. TexasRose

    TexasRose Gotta run Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm not sure if you're replying to me or Oldbear, so ignore this if the comment wasn't directed to me.

    If you mean Tia when you say the OP (and not the OP of the thread), then I didn't skip over his/her concerns. Tia asked if s/he would still enjoy this career path after all the years of education and work. I think the answer depends strongly on the individual. As someone who doesn't see the value or reward in neonatology, you gave a negative response to Tia. I, like Oldbear, was giving an alternate view.

    Just because a baby can't stand up and thank you after you save his life doesn't mean that there isn't any thanks in the job. It comes from parents and it comes from knowing the difference you have made in the child's and the parents' lives. Not all babies in NICUs wind up with severe disabilities. Some leave without disabilities at all thanks to the interventions provided by their doctors. Others live more normal lives than they would have otherwise. Some wouldn't have lived at all and by the grace of medicine they have a chance.

    Yes, there are severely disabled children in NICU's. Yes the line can be very gray when it comes to deciding how much intervention is "right" and good. But that isn't all there is to it.
  25. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Dear doc05:

    I am very content with what "thanks" I receive as well as the overall sense of accomplishment I have from practicing neonatology. This does not mean that I am not concerned about the problems inherent in our field as in many others and the challenges of caring for small or critically ill infants after they go home. Hopefully, with research into fields like neonatal nutrition, we will be able to improve things in the future. Others would need to speak for themselves, although I have never heard any of my colleagues complain that the field is "thankless."

    With regards to outcome, there are literally dozens of excellent studies evaluating the short and long-term outcomes of small babies. If you'd like to review some of the studies, I'd be glad to discuss them with you, although probably off-line as I do not think SDN is a good "journal club". Here is a link to one excellent article from a few years ago that is available free. The numbers in this study are similar to many others:

    http://fn.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/79/1/F12

    and now, since this thread seems to have been hijacked adequately, I will leave it to rest.

    By the way, I'm not sure I understand what would make it harder for an adolescent to understand the seriousness of neonatology compared to any other field in which patients are very sick and may not survive.


    Regards

    "oldbear professor"




  26. Tia842

    Tia842 Tia

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    Of course it's nothing like babysitting:) I want to be a neonatologist because it is my choice and I was a premature also but I also want to help their needs as much as I can.. Why not help when you have the chance yeah so what it can be hard but it is worth the risk. But I don't get what you mean thankless.. How can it be thankless you did your best and have others thanking you for saving their child.. I think it would be worth taking the oppurtunity for this type of career.
  27. jackjinju

    jackjinju Senior Member

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    Hi!

    oldbear helped me a little bit on this already (and any additional help is always welcomed), but I basically have all my fellowship interviews set up ( a few i'm still waiting for). Any vibes on these programs? Which are better thought of for the parameters clinical/research/"happiness"..etc....or anything else you can add.

    Thanks!

    Here's my list of interviews so far (in no order):

    Columbia
    CHOP
    Brown
    Yale

    Any preferences? Thoughts?
  28. Tia842

    Tia842 Tia

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    I have a question next year I will be a senior and I don't know if I should take Epidermology or Physics.. So far I have already taken Earth Science, Biology, and right now Chemistry Honors and Human anatomy and physiology. Does it matter or should I just wait till college and wait until then?
  29. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Hi Tia842:

    It doesn't really matter what you take in high school as far as your medical career goes. You should take what you like and will hold your interest (assuming that "senioritis" still exists as it did in my day).

    Having said that, assuming the choice is between "epidemiology" and physics, I would choose physics as you'll get a better chance at epi later and it's good to know some physics. Others can chime in with their view or give you the usual type of response that high school students often get on SDN with these types of questions.:rolleyes:

    Jackjinju - might consider adding a smaller, more clinical, less bench-research program to your list, if nothing else, just to get a broader perspective.

    regards

    "oldbear professor"
  30. Gator05

    Gator05 Resident

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    Physics, by golly, take physics!

    I consider physics to be the "latin" of science, but more central and less...dead. My HS physics course not only helped me through calculus and chemistry in HS, but through almost any math-based subject. Those same physics lessons came back to help in physiology, and now critical care, in med school!!!

    ...my physics teacher was a wonderful guy, football coach, real genious. Genius. He really treated our class with a lot of respect, let us learn however we wanted as long as we learned what we needed. We set fire to the lawn one day courtesy of an errant freznel lens. He laughed, once it was out.

    He was diagnosed with ALS a year after we graduated.

    Take physics.
  31. jackjinju

    jackjinju Senior Member

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    Thanks again old bear...you're a great asset to this board. Actually, home program is a highly clinical program (they haven't given out interviews yet, so it's not listed), as is one other that I haven't got an interview from yet.

    Thanks, again.
  32. Tia842

    Tia842 Tia

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    Okie dokie thanks you guys:) I am proud of myself I just got on the National Honor Society so yay! My physiology sounds like how your teacher was:) He is fun and tells jokes but also teaches alot in a fun way I hope I can get him again next year had him for 2 years now:) Sorry to hear he was diagnosed with ALS...
  33. sjkpark

    sjkpark Senior Member

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    Hi Tia

    I was born premature also and now I'm a medical student. I think it is great that you're considering becoming a neonatologist. I thought about becoming a doctor when I was your age. In my last year at high school I saw a TV documentary about neonatologists. So I don't think it is too early at all that youre asking those questions. You might change your mind about which specialty you want to go into when youre at medical school, but that's okay. There are a few career paths that you feel that you've really done something to help people in need and earn a good living with good job security.

    Well, I think you should take physics, since I think even if you learn epidemiology in high school you wouldn't have knowledge to really appreciate it. However if there is a statistics class at school, take it. I always say to high school students (I was an English and maths tutor until last year) who want to come to medical school that the biggest contraindication to medical school is not liking people. Fear of blood and numbers you can probably get away with provided that you work hard, but fear of people gets only worse over time. So use your high school years to learn how to study effectively (try different study methods and stick to the one that works for you) and develop your communications skills.

    Cheers,

    Serena
  34. Tia842

    Tia842 Tia

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    Thanks yeah that makes since.. How much were you when you were a premie?
  35. sjkpark

    sjkpark Senior Member

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    Eh? I weighed 1.5 kg if that is what you're asking. But this was back in 1981.

    PS: Written communications skills are also very important in medicine. First, communication skills; second, knowledge.
  36. Tia842

    Tia842 Tia

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    3 pounds thats cool. I was 1 pound and 14 ounces:) The National Honor Societ will help me alot... They have alot of volunteering work which will be 40 to 100 hours and also help alot with your communicatin skills:)
  37. shadow_28

    shadow_28 New Member

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    I need to know what kind of schooling a pediatric surgeon would need. If you can help me please reply.
  38. shadow_28

    shadow_28 New Member

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  39. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Hey - as long as this thread has been resurrected, any comments about what you learned on the interview trail in neo? I don't necessarily think that posting specific program details is a great idea, but what sort of issues did you uncover that would make you choose one of these over the others.

    regards

    OBP

  40. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Well, since you said "please" and no one answered you, I'll give you the brief answer.

    First, pediatric surgery is a specialty of surgery, not pediatric medicine and therefore you might learn more about it in the surgical discussion forum(s).

    To become a pediatric surgeon, you must first complete medical school. Then you complete a general surgical residency of 5 yrs and a pediatric surgical fellowship of 2 yrs. Now then, as pedi surg is highly competitive, it is usual (?inevitable) that you will need somewhere in there to do some research which may mean up to 2 more yrs before completing your fellowship. I think, but am not sure, that the research is most often done before starting fellowship at the institution you will be doing your fellowship training. However, for those with extensive research background, I expect that other options exist.

    After this 9 yr post-medical school experience, you will be a pediatric surgeon and have the opportunity to have an incredible career that requires some of the best combination of hand skills and brain skills of any specialty in medicine. You will also work very hard throughout your career! You won't need to worry about it being a "thankless" profession, since lots and lots of families WILL thank you, often!:)

    Regards

    OBP
  41. Dartos Vader

    Dartos Vader Illegal in 47 states

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    How does anyone end up wanting to do medicine? They just do. No matter what field you go into, at the end of the day it's just your job. I think it's great that these kids are aiming high. They may seem a little naive, but thats part of being young.
    To the girls asking all the questions: I know it seems like a lot of school, but it's not as bad as you might think. No matter what you do, you have to do four years of college (usually). Plus only the first two years of med school are actually sitting in a classroom. The second two you are working in a hospital. Good luck in whatever you end up doing!
  42. Doc-Hollywood

    Doc-Hollywood Save The Rule of Sixes

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    with all due respect, I consider the input of an MS4 ( I assume you are an MS4 based on your screen name ) to be only on par with the high school students when it comes to actually knowing what the job of a neonatologist is all about. So I can say that "More importantly, my post was directed at the MS4's who cannot possibly understand the seriousness of a neonatologist's work.

    I am board certified in Pediatrics (99) and Neonatal-perinatal medicine ( 03 )

    I will address a few falsehoods ( as I see them ) that have been raised in this thread.

    1. Neonatology is NOT a "grueling" career. Sorry. Not even close.
    Yes, I can be very busy. Friday I worked 27 hrs and didn't get any sleep. I admitted 7 babies ( 4 after midnight ) and a few of them were very sick.
    However, there is nothing I would rather be doing than staying up at night taking care of sick babies. I left yesterday at 11 AM feeling tired, but extremely satisfied at a job well done.
    A very wise man once said " Pick a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life"
    I find that neonatology is a very happy career. Yes there are plenty of sad cases, but I think you can say that about any career that involves patient care. By far, the success stories far outweigh the bad ouctomes. This has little to do with death, since sometimes the death of a patient is a good outcome. Virtually every neonatologist I know ( and I know quite a few since I trained at the largest program in the USA ) is happy and really loves their job. I just don't see that in other specialties. We work hard, but we love our work.
    To me, something "grueling" involves hard work that is very unpleasant. I consider walking up 8 flights of stairs carrying a suitcase to be "grueling"
    Delivering newspapers at 430 Am is grueling. Working at TGI Fridays waiting tables is grueling work. Digging ditches is grueling.
    Working in a busy NICU with fantastic nurses and medical staff is a blast. Pretty far from grueling. IMO medicine in general is not for wimps that don't want a little hard work. Most residencies involve long hours. There are many careers where physicians work longer than I do ( and remember, there is no silly 80 hr rule after you graduate residency and fellowship! )

    2. Neonatology is NOT a thankless career. I would go so far as to classify this statement as being totally moronic!
    IMO, ANY medical student that needs their ego stroked by being showered with "thanks" is going into medicine for the wrong reason. Go and deliver pizzas if you need instant gratification. Forget medicine
    You can measure a person's character by how they act when nobody is watching.
    What does this statement have to do with medicine?
    Well, there are so many things we do as physicians for our patients and their families that will never be rewarded with a thank you. The radiologist that picks up something subtle on an MRI won't get thanked by the patient. A pathologist that sees some very subtle anomaly at the periphery of a frozen section will not get thanks from the patient. A phychiatrist that helps a person with schizophrenia or dementia is unlikely to be thanked. ETC ETC.

    How am I thanked? I am thanked every single day hundreds of times. I might resuscitate a newborn and do a particularly good job, and a few days later I see a proud mother holding her healthy newborn as she is wheeled out to the car. She has no idea that I did a good job and took care of her baby and allowed him/her a normal transition. Seeing them is enough thanks.
    Picking up a major problem with subtle clinical signs, and taking care of it before it becomes a big problem is enough thanks. Ordering an echocardiogram on a baby in the nursery who has weak femoral pulses, who perhaps would have been sent home if you didn't take the time to be thorough, and finding a coarcation , saving him from later being admitted in very dire straits, is plenty of thanks

    Perhaps oldbear proffessor will agree, but sometimes I am a little bit embarrassed at the attention and overwhelming thanks we can get from families. I much prefer it when a job really well done is really something that I and the staff know what happened, but the family really doesn't fully comprehend to a point when then fawn all over you. Seeing a hapopy mother holding her baby is quite rewarding. Seeing families at the mall ( even though I almost ALWAYS forget their name.....I can remember the size chest tube I used or the kid's last sodium 3 years later but not the name!! ) and seeing a healthy little toddler that used to be quite ill, is very gratifying.
    Hearing " I'm glad you're on call tonight" from the NICU nurses is plenty of thanks. Earning the respect of staff is thanks

    Yesterday morning I took a 7 day old severely asphyxiated newborn off the ventilator and she died shortly thereafter. I'm not sure that I expect thanks for treating the family like I would like to be treated. Moving them to a private room so the mother doesn't have to hear other babies crying and remind her that her baby will never cry. But taking care of her and making an otherwise awful moment in her life, just a little bit easier is really worth a lifetime of thanks as far as I am concerned.

    I guess DOC05 should do breast augmentation and nose jobs.
    You can flash a mirror in front of your patients and get the "wow!!! thanks doc" you are craving. Just please don't try to discourage premed students that may feel otherwise when you are really not qualified to be giving anybody advice on career choice


    3.
    These are NICHD data from the EARLY 90's. As you can see, the data do not support your statement.
    [​IMG]
    Yes there are certainly many infants in the NICU population that survive with severe morbidities but even in the highest risk groups, the majority of infants survive and do well.
    In case you didn't know, tiny prematures are not the only kids admitted into NICU's. In fact, then are the minority. Most of the NICU graduates treated in NICU's in America do extremely well. I am not going to debate the minutia. We are working hard to improve outcomes. Better technology means sicker patients will survive, and with that will naturally come other unfavorable outcomes. However, with any other critical care cohort, there will always be patients with adverse outcomes. These will ALWAYS be the minority though
    I staff our development clinic and see the high risk NICU graduates. I see the good and the bad. Most of the graduates, even in our high risk groups are doing awfully good considering how sick they were ( and these are just the high risk kids! )

    I would also like to mention the bias against surviving neonates in this post by DOC05.
    Go to any adult or pediatric ICU and follow head injury patients, near drownings, trauma , stroke, cardiac arrest or other very critically ill patient and quantify the deficits in THESE patients. You will find a high degree of neurologic morbidities for example in patients with significant closed head injuries.
    I'm not sure we have bias against agressively teating critically ill adult and pediatric trauma patients since they have a higher risk of long term problems.

    It is difficult to tell many times which critically ill ICU patient will be completely normal and which one will be impaired



    FINALLY, my take home message for the original poster : Neonatology is a fantastic career. I love it. IF I could start over, I wouldn't choose any other career ( see if all other physicians in other specialties can say that. I don't think so )
    However, each person should pick a career that they love. The high school students here should worry first about college. Then medical school.
    In medical school clinical rotations, try to imagine yourself doing EVERY specialty where you rotate. This will help in selecting the best career fit, since it's pretty difficult to change career once you start.

    DOC05, sorry for the hand slap. If you think I was harsh, print out your comments and take them to the chief of neonatology at your medical school.
    See how he or she responds. I think you'll find I was pretty nice
  43. Gator05

    Gator05 Resident

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    From an interested guest straying from the anesthesiology forum:

    I'm an MS4 who had a pretty darn difficult time deciding between neonatology and anesthesiology (go figure, I'm wierd and learning to accept it). I LOVED my NICU rotation. LOVED. It was challening emotionally, intellectually but most of all physically. Residents, attendings, fellows, nurses, RT's (to whom I owe so much), NNP's, parents and yes even those kiddo's who can't talk or say anything, it was worth the work for no other reason than to just work with them all. Thanks? That should be from me to them, for letting me play some small role in the NICU.

    Alas, I chose anesthesiology. I'm human, and I'm married. I hated being away from my wife seemingly every other night, despite enjoying the vertical learning curve and increased parental presence when on call. I hated that feeling at 4am when the pager went off. Mostly I hated knowing how soon I was going to have to do it again, knowing that these kiddo's deserved someone in-house 24/7. Life is a matter of compromises, and if I had no other committments in my life neonatology would be #1.

    There are lots of doc's out there who are morally superior (no jest) to myself; they understand the sacrifice, and make it happily. It's a wonderful field with fantastic results; if I can be 50-75% as happy in peds anesthesiology, it'll have been a wonderful life!
  44. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Nah, I have three teen/preteen kids. ANY "thanks" is a unique experience :laugh: After all, what are we to do when the "away" message on my teen daughters AOL IM acct complains about her parents being too strict......?

    What is embarassing is when they thank you for something you didn't do. Families often identify the wrong doctor as being the one who did the most for their baby. They may know the daytime attending, but not the person who spent the long night with their sick baby. No biggie, but another reason not to get too concerned about "thanks" from families.

    Regards

    OBP
  45. Doc-Hollywood

    Doc-Hollywood Save The Rule of Sixes

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    I was in your shoes, but went the reverse direction. I loved anesthesiology and would have certainly done peds anesthesiology ( or CV and worked the congenital heart cases )
    I think there is a lot of similarities between the two careers.
    What changed my mind was that I felt I wanted a bit more patient contact,

    PS: you can spend plenty of time at home and still do neonatology.
    I am in a pretty awesome private group and we work 1 really bad week ( well over 90 hrs ) out of 6, and the remaining 5 weeks we are only doing about 2 night calls a week with large chunks of time off.
    for example, I am just completing my long week. Next week I only work Tuesday night 5 PM to 8 AM. the rest of the time I am off.
    The beeper gets turned off when I leave the hospital, much like yours will

    PS: nobody is morally superior based on their career choice.
    It's how you conduct yourself, not what specialty you choose
  46. Gator05

    Gator05 Resident

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    I go round and 'round with a good buddy of mine about this; I try to convince him of anesthesiology's virtues, while he's upheld a remarkable recruitment drive for peds CCM/neo. Of course, this is also a guy I'd drive my kids 100 miles to see if there were really sick. I figure we'll both be taking care of ultra-sick kiddo's, but in different environments.

    Your schedule certainly seems pretty nice, but of course there is more to it than that. I took deaths pretty hard, especially the bad deaths. I also like being able to see adults every now and then, perhaps then more than now? :)

    Morally superior in my eyes is my buddy who knows what an impact his profession is going to have on his personal life, and moves forward anyway. I hope to earn respect by being a good doc, but the personal sacrifice my those in peds is something extra-special that I do appreciate.
  47. lyssa317

    lyssa317 lyssa317

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    What are some job benefits you recieve as a neonatologist?



    Thanks, Lyssa
  48. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Salary, pension, disability, malpractice and health insurance are usually included in most job offers.

    Free lunches and all the pacifiers you can use may also be provided.

    There is also the benefit of doing a job that you believe is important and is of service to those you care for and their families.

    Perhaps you had a more specific question?

    Regards

    OBP
  49. drbon

    drbon

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    I have a more specific question....
    My husband and I are both 3rd year med students. He wants to do EM and I'm thinking about a few different things (neonatal being one of them). How hard is it for a woman to juggle being a neonatologist and having a family? I'm sure some people do it, but since both of us are in the medical field, we are both going to have long work hours......
  50. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Camp Kesem Advisor Bear Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Well, I can't really speak from personal experience on this one. The other neo attending and soon to be neo fellow that I know of who regarlarly post here aren't women either. :laugh:

    However, since you asked my opinion, I would note that I am surrounded in neonatalogy by women who are nearly all mothers, including many who are pursuing or had pursued research-oriented careers with small children. I've also known a few who went part-time after having children. I really only know one that I can think of who quit the field and medicine after having kids and that was a decision made before she had kids. Therefore, the available evidence suggests it can be done. The spouses of these women are almost always career folks including at least one ER doc that I can think of.

    Now then, in general, I think the hardest time-period in becoming and practicing as a neonatologist while having a family is fellowship, especially the first year, which is mostly clinical. This is as tough as internship in most places with more stress and responsibility. So, you'll need a solid support system in place for that year for you and the family. The later years of fellowship are more research-oriented and not as bad, although still lots of night call in most places.

    As a career, neonatologists have a range of opportunities from academics to private practice. Some work ER style "shifts", but most have somewhat more traditional schedules. Part-time as I indicated is possible too. There are lots of ways of taking it easier when the kids are very small and then returning to full-time work as they get older. I think anyone very allergic to night-time work would be best not going into neonatology as you will work nights forever in this business. I still work nights regularly and I've been at this a long time. It genuinely doesn't bother me as I went into medicine and neonatology with the expectation of a lifetime of nighttime (and holiday) work, but that isn't for everyone.

    If you want direct views from women, after you've done a couple rotations and have a better sense of your interests, PM me and I can put you in contact with several female neonatologists with families and small children.

    Regards

    OBP

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