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Premed Thoughts on Pediatrics

Virgil

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    Virgil finally decided to abandon all the silly Chuck Norris talk and veer off into the realm of productivity and usefulness. Imagine that.

    Well anywho, I would like to hear what you wacky premeds think about pediatrics. I encourage discussion from all angles--the future of the field, any stigmas attached to it, and the thoughts of those who are thinking of pursuing it, etc. Anything and everything dealing with pediatrics is encouraged and praised, and anything with a rotten hint of Norris in it is discouraged and will be immediately disregarded as irrelevant crap foulin' up the place. Thank you.

    For those unfamilliar with the practice of pediatrics:
    Pediatrician_300.jpg
     
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    Chinorean

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      Virgil said:
      Virgil finally decided to abandon all the silly Chuck Norris talk and veer off into the realm of productivity and usefulness. Imagine that.

      Well anywho, I would like to hear what you wacky premeds think about pediatrics. I encourage discussion from all angles--the future of the field, any stigmas attached to it, and the thoughts of those who are thinking of pursuing it, etc. Anything and everything dealing with pediatrics is encouraged and praised, and anything with a rotten hint of Norris in it is discouraged and will be immediately disregarded as irrelevant crap foulin' up the place. Thank you.

      For those unfamilliar with the practice of pediatrics:
      Pediatrician_300.jpg

      Babies and kids are awesome. Parents are not so awesome.

      I know a pediatrician who is sick all the time, I think it has to do with the kids always being infected with something. They also get paged a LOT and with cell phones, you're always going to have someone coming after you for little Suzie's upset stomache. I don't think there are any stigmas, altho peds has one of the lower salary ranges. There is a sort of stereotype if you're a woman--people automatically assume it's because of some nurturing need. If a guy is interested in peds, I think it's hotter than being an orthopedic surgeon ;)
       

      ghostchild

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        I'm giving it some serious thought. When I shadowed one it did seem a little repetitive. There were 3 basic types of visits: the checkup, the baby has a cold, and the 5-11 yr old that needs a better diet to lose weight. Every now and then there would be something different and challenging such as a rare disease but that was about it. However, if you like kids it was very rewarding. People skills are a must and you're always on call. I enjoyed it so much because I do like dealing with people and when the rare case comes around I don't think there's anything more rewarding than treating a child with a serious illness.
         

        RxnMan

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          Virgil said:
          True. Gotta have the people skills.
          This is true for any field in medicine. With the possible exception of pathology.

          I am seriously thinking about a pediatric subspeciality, like ortho peds. Some of the folks I've worked with that are in that field are great. A very cool aspect of it is that the kids generally need several surgeries, spaced out over years. That way you get to build up a relationship with your patients, see them grow up, and see the effects of the difference you've made in their lives.
           

          McMD

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            Yes, you have to deal with the parents...but not all parents are horrible!!

            Children are AWESOME...you will never know how much you touch their lives by the little things you do or say or when you simply make them feel better. Dealing with parents is worth it to see the smile in the child's face. Children with chronic illnesses are 10 times more appreciative than other children and you will definitely notice this...children with chronic illnesses will touch your life in ways you didn't think they could.

            I agree that some parents can be a pain in the ass, but you'll get that with whatever specialty you go into...you're always going to have the pain in the ass patients. One thing that sucks in peds is that sometimes you want to direct parents in their "parenting skills" because you'll see people treat their kids differently than how you would treat yours. Also, you'll get the anal parents who call/come in for everything. On the flip side, some parents are the most awesome people....sometimes all they need is someone to say "you're doing a great job with your child."

            IMO someone that goes into peds has to be a very positive, encouraging person with great personal skills. Being able to relate with a child within the first minute of seeing them is also a plus because it helps you gain their trust and allows them to talk to you instead of being scared of you.

            I am planning on specializing, but whatever I decide to specialize in will be in peds.
             

            RxnMan

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              Another thing that is great about peds: your patients generally want to get better. That doesn't happen in many specialities (PM&R is another). I worked for a pulmonologist at the local VA. Every day he'd see a vet. The vet would have lung cancer/emphysema/cirrhosis of the liver, and my boss would say "Give up smoking and drinking." The patient would say "No." Then all my boss could do was educate them about the risks they were taking.
               

              lookslikerain

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                For a long time I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician but after extensively shadowing one, I know it's probably the last thing I want to do. One word: repetitive. There's no excitement, no intellectual stimulation. Yes, I love kids but not that much. The patient interaction is not worth it because of the stubborn/plain stupid parents you often encounter. I'm not completely ruling out peds subspecialties though.
                 

                ShyRem

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                  Peds. Are you talking about GP (having your own office type) Peds or ER Peds (like in a children's hospital)?

                  GP Peds: parents are generally quite ignorant. you'll get parents who are absolutely freaking because their kid has a cold, their kid is drooling (they're teething), their kid won't sleep, their new infant has yellow poop (they're being breast-fed), their kid is crying, their kid has a fever and they don't want to give tylenol but you have to make them better NOW, etc etc etc. There are well child checks - easy, can be quick, but again geared towards educating parents. Occassionally you get parents that are smart, well-informed, and when they call and say their kid is sick you know the kid is pretty darn sick. These are few and far between. All in all, you deal more with educating parents (some of whom don't or won't listen and/or are so stressed out because they can't afford to take time off work to be home 'cuz the daycare won't take a sick kid) then with truly treating kids. HOWEVER: the kids are pretty darn awesome. And you get to foist off the nasty needles on the nurse so you're always the hero. Also, you have to deal with parents that refuse to do things for their kids like watch their diet, make sure they get exercise, even immunizations have become a battleground. With the increase in pertussis, tb, and several other diseases that have pretty significant complications, the importance of immunizations is greater than ever; yet parents are refusing to immunize. Many pediatricians are firing their patients because of the parents' failure to take the pediatrician's advice (there are many instances of the parents suing the doctor after the kid contracts the disease contracted because of failure to immunize).

                  Peds ER: Again, you deal with a lot of parents that are pretty ill-informed and ignorant. You get child abuse cases, you get handicapped cases, parental neglect cases, and some incredibly heart-breaking cases that just about make you want to puke sometimes. The rewards can be high, the frustration higher, and the burn-out rate incredible. A great specialty if you can handle it; makes you appreciate your own kids or the fact you don't have any. This is more about dealing with the kids than the parents, but the work is far more psychologically draining.

                  My take for what it's worth. It can be incredibly rewarding, incredibly boring and/or incredibly psychologically draining. But if that's what floats your boat, go for it. Go spend some time in a peds office and in a peds ER and see what you think. Me? I wouldn't do peds office, but I would consider peds ER.

                  NOTE: When I say "ignorant" that means "uneducated". Ignorant does *not* mean stupid. Stupid parents are a whole other ball of wax.
                   
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                  RxnMan

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                    MN81 said:
                    Rafa, I like you more every day.

                    I, agree, a sub-specialty of Peds (Oncology, Neurology, etc) would suit me better than GP or ER Peds.
                    Neuro has never had any appeal for me. I've been told that, while they are very good at diagnostics and identifying problems, all of that good work narrows down to one of two prescriptions, and 95% of the time it's steroids in some form or another. Am I missing something?
                     

                    MN81

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                      RxnMan said:
                      Neuro has never had any appeal for me. I've been told that, while they are very good at diagnostics and identifying problems, all of that good work narrows down to one of two prescriptions, and 95% of the time it's steroids in some form or another. Am I missing something?

                      But its the brain. Control people's brains = control the world!!!! :smuggrin:

                      Just kidding. Good point. I am just predisposed to it because I know a lot of Neuros.
                       

                      DrMike24

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                        Great thread...

                        I havent had too much exposure so I am not sure, but I dont think I would like to do peds. I have a friend who works as a med tech in a peds office, and he says its pretty nuts
                         

                        Virgil

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                          Chinorean said:
                          Babies and kids are awesome. Parents are not so awesome.

                          I know a pediatrician who is sick all the time, I think it has to do with the kids always being infected with something. They also get paged a LOT and with cell phones, you're always going to have someone coming after you for little Suzie's upset stomache. I don't think there are any stigmas, altho peds has one of the lower salary ranges. There is a sort of stereotype if you're a woman--people automatically assume it's because of some nurturing need. If a guy is interested in peds, I think it's hotter than being an orthopedic surgeon ;)

                          A/S/L? Just kidding. Keep your pants on. :p
                           

                          Virgil

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                            Does anyone have the time or energy to describe/post a link about the pediatric subspecialties?

                            Secondly, is it possible to do both general pediatrics and specialize, in that you will see sick children in your office as well as have the equipment to handle more "special" (requiring the skills of a pediatrician trained in a subspecialty) skills (or the necessary hospital privileges to treat such patients)?
                             

                            gujuDoc

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                              Rafa said:
                              Pediatric Neurology, baby.


                              This is one of the fields I've considered.

                              I currently volunteer at a pediatric clinic, though I didn't go in this week. We volunteer with a program through USF Pediatrics that is part of a national program started by BU Medical Center in Boston. The program is called Reach Out and Read and our job is to promote early literacy by reading to children in the waiting rooms as the doctor does their part by educating parents about the importance of early literacy. It is sooooooo much fun because the kids are sooooooo cute and adorable.

                              That said, I don't think I'd want to go into general peds. I'd want something more specialized. I think what someone said about people who are going to moan and groan is true of any specialty.
                               
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                              Virgil

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                                ShyRem said:
                                Peds. Are you talking about GP (having your own office type) Peds or ER Peds (like in a children's hospital)?

                                GP Peds: parents are generally quite ignorant. you'll get parents who are absolutely freaking because their kid has a cold, their kid is drooling (they're teething), their kid won't sleep, their new infant has yellow poop (they're being breast-fed), their kid is crying, their kid has a fever and they don't want to give tylenol but you have to make them better NOW, etc etc etc. There are well child checks - easy, can be quick, but again geared towards educating parents. Occassionally you get parents that are smart, well-informed, and when they call and say their kid is sick you know the kid is pretty darn sick. These are few and far between. All in all, you deal more with educating parents (some of whom don't or won't listen and/or are so stressed out because they can't afford to take time off work to be home 'cuz the daycare won't take a sick kid) then with truly treating kids. HOWEVER: the kids are pretty darn awesome. And you get to foist off the nasty needles on the nurse so you're always the hero. Also, you have to deal with parents that refuse to do things for their kids like watch their diet, make sure they get exercise, even immunizations have become a battleground. With the increase in pertussis, tb, and several other diseases that have pretty significant complications, the importance of immunizations is greater than ever; yet parents are refusing to immunize. Many pediatricians are firing their patients because of the parents' failure to take the pediatrician's advice (there are many instances of the parents suing the doctor after the kid contracts the disease contracted because of failure to immunize).

                                Peds ER: Again, you deal with a lot of parents that are pretty ill-informed and ignorant. You get child abuse cases, you get handicapped cases, parental neglect cases, and some incredibly heart-breaking cases that just about make you want to puke sometimes. The rewards can be high, the frustration higher, and the burn-out rate incredible. A great specialty if you can handle it; makes you appreciate your own kids or the fact you don't have any. This is more about dealing with the kids than the parents, but the work is far more psychologically draining.

                                My take for what it's worth. It can be incredibly rewarding, incredibly boring and/or incredibly psychologically draining. But if that's what floats your boat, go for it. Go spend some time in a peds office and in a peds ER and see what you think. Me? I wouldn't do peds office, but I would consider peds ER.

                                NOTE: When I say "ignorant" that means "uneducated". Ignorant does *not* mean stupid. Stupid parents are a whole other ball of wax.
                                Thank you for the ever-so informative post.

                                The reason why I am so interested in pediatrics is because my father is a pediatrician, and I have actually shadowed him/worked in his office for quite some time. He is very experienced and it would be a waste to lose all that knowledge...he has seen a LOT. Seeing that I have the people skills necessary (thank God), I like to deal with kids (they love me so much!), my father has a plethora of knowledge which he would like to pass on to me, and that my father already has an already established reputation/business/office, pediatrics would be a very lucrative field for me.

                                I am still in the process of sampling other specialties, but as of now it seems that peds would be the best fit for me. I saw my father perform a circumcision and I almost fainted; I guess I'm not a blood-loving guy. However, a peds subspecialty seems quite interesting...I'm going to look more into that.
                                 

                                fpr85

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                                  I think a pediatric subspecialty in orthopedics would be cool (chinorean would really dig me now ;) )

                                  We have a pediatric orthopod that we get a lot of referrals some. You'd be amazed at the array of kids we get through here: Autistic, mentally ******ed, CP, trauma injuries, and a whole lot more. We mostly get children with scoliosis; had a girl last week with a 40 degree thoracic curve, and she was only 9 yrs old!

                                  Parents aren't too bad, you just have to show them that you have a no-bs attitude. We are constantly getting parents calling up asking "Where's my son/daughter's brace, you said it would only take two weeks..." I just apologize to them and tell them when it's in we'll give them a call. Deal with it!

                                  Anyhow, don't know what I'd go into subspecialty wise -- definitely orthopedics, I really enjoy the field. And if I don't make it into med school, I wouldn't mind becoming a orthotist/prosthetist.
                                   

                                  Reimat

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                                    McMD said:
                                    I am planning on specializing, but whatever I decide to specialize in will be in peds.

                                    Me too - either Ped neurology like Rafa or Ped neurosurg, because I want to combine my work with research in ped. neurological diseases or something of that nature.

                                    There's just something about being able to help a kid, because you know you're having an effect that will last a lifetime. :)
                                     

                                    gujuDoc

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                                      I'm interested in pediatric epilepsy. I actually shadowed some neurologists, but that was with adult movmt disorders, and am going to shadow a epilepsy specialist soon. Both the neurologists I talked to were really nice and really happy and enthusiastic about their jobs.
                                       
                                      Hi there,
                                      I was strongly leaning towards Pediatrics clear up until the middle of my third year when I did my General Surgery clerkship and never looked back. I recently finished being Chief on my Pediatric Surgery rotation and I had a great time. The wonderful thing about pediatric patients is that they get sick quickly but get well even faster. I ligated patent ductus arterosi, resected dead bowel, removed chest tumors, performed Nissin fundoplications, repaired all kinds of hernias including diaphragmatic hernias, resected nephroblastomas and hepatoblastomas, put a child on ECMO(a diaphragmatic hernia), put in countless central lines and chest tubes, removed a choledochal cyst, created traches, created Malone stomas, took care of trauma patients and closed omphaloceles and gastroschisis. My patients did well and I also had a great time doing Burn Surgery too. It was a great rotation.

                                      I don't think I would ever do General Pediatrics but Pediatric Surgery was a blast especially the liver resections.

                                      njbmd :)
                                       

                                      gujuDoc

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                                        Reimat said:
                                        Me too - either Ped neurology like Rafa or Ped neurosurg, because I want to combine my work with research in ped. neurological diseases or something of that nature.

                                        There's just something about being able to help a kid, because you know you're having an effect that will last a lifetime. :)


                                        The only drawback with neurosurgery is that it is the longest residency that exists. I like the actual neurology aspects, but have admiration for those who go through the rigorous neurosurgery training because it nearly is like the same amount of years as undergrad and med school combined and then some if you do a fellowship.
                                         

                                        Rafa

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                                          MN81 said:
                                          Rafa, I like you more every day.

                                          I, agree, a sub-specialty of Peds (Oncology, Neurology, etc) would suite me better than GP or ER Peds.

                                          :^) Fully agree. Subspecialties are where I'd head if I went into Peds.

                                          gujuDoc said:
                                          The only drawback with neurosurgery is that it is the longest residency that exists. I like the actual neurology aspects, but have admiration for those who go through the rigorous neurosurgery training because it nearly is like the same amount of years as undergrad and med school combined and then some if you do a fellowship.

                                          This is true; it is definitely time intensive. A 7 year residency takes its toll on the best of young docs. But there's got to be something in there that makes it worth it, I think - for the ones who stick it out, at least. Particularly if the purpose of your training will literally affect people (in this case, children) for a lifetime. Either way, props to those who take the long road. :)
                                           

                                          GoodEats

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                                            Developmental-behavioral peds is what I'm leaning towards. Also, for those interested in ortho peds, the Shriners down in Houston is phenomenal...spent a couple weeks down there last summer and loved every minute of it.
                                             

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                                              GoodEats said:
                                              Developmental-behavioral peds is what I'm leaning towards. Also, for those interested in ortho peds, the Shriners down in Houston is phenomenal...spent a couple weeks down there last summer and loved every minute of it.


                                              We have a phenomenal Shriners hospital in Tampa as well. They don't do much burn patients but they do a lot of Orthopedics. The Chief of Staff there is really nice too. He's let some of us shadow in the past. I used to volunteer for a semester there as well and the children were so much fun especially these 2 hispanic kids that really stick out in my mind. They were just soooo adorable.
                                               

                                              RxnMan

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                                                GoodEats said:
                                                Developmental-behavioral peds is what I'm leaning towards. Also, for those interested in ortho peds, the Shriners down in Houston is phenomenal...spent a couple weeks down there last summer and loved every minute of it.
                                                Texas Scottish Rite, Denver Children's, Gillette (link above), all of the Shriners Hospitals (go Philly!) are all great peds hospitals with ortho/PM&R departments.

                                                From my knowledge of ortho and PM&R, you do the regular speciality residency (5 yrs for the former, 3-4? yrs for the latter) and then do a fellowship in peds (~2 years).
                                                 

                                                Vox Animo

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                                                  Working with children is where i most likely see myself. I have been working in a adhd/bd camp for over 7 summers and love it. kids are better than older people. and like mentioned earlier, almost every patient you see will get better. every ped i shadowed said that was their main motivation. if i could specialize, right now i would say neonatology. if your interested, search on this site for that field, lots of good info. especially from dr. hifi.
                                                   

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                                                    Vox Animo said:
                                                    Working with children is where i most likely see myself. I have been working in a adhd/bd camp for over 7 summers and love it. kids are better than older people. and like mentioned earlier, almost every patient you see will get better. every ped i shadowed said that was their main motivation. if i could specialize, right now i would say neonatology. if your interested, search on this site for that field, lots of good info. especially from dr. hifi.

                                                    In regards to almost every kid getting better, that depends on the specialty within peds.

                                                    For instance, something like pediatric oncology might be more depressing because a lot of people inflicted with cancer will not go into remission.

                                                    Or taking neurology into consideration, many cases work out but many don't. It really depends on the aspect of pediatrics you are dealing with.

                                                    However, that said, I still love child medicine more then adult medicine.
                                                     

                                                    Touchdown

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                                                      My dad is a general ped and he loves it. For one thing you work in an office full of primary colors, toys, and warmth (as opposed to the cold, stark and silent offices of other docs.) The parents are not the biggest negative, its the fact that when you have a bad day you have a really bad day (abused children, cancer, etc) I dont know if I could take that day in day out.
                                                       

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                                                        Touchdown said:
                                                        My dad is a general ped and he loves it. For one thing you work in an office full of primary colors, toys, and warmth (as opposed to the cold, stark and silent offices of other docs.) The parents are not the biggest negative, its the fact that when you have a bad day you have a really bad day (abused children, cancer, etc) I dont know if I could take that day in day out.


                                                        So true about the difference in pediatric offices vs. other doctor's offices. My favorite was All Children's Hospital in St. Pete, Florida. They have various game rooms and paintings all over the walls from Disney characters and cartoon characters to a range of other things. It really is a warm and welcoming hospital. Hospitals and care facilities really try to go out of their way for children.
                                                         
                                                        wow i gotta show this thread to my gf who is interested in peds.

                                                        i personally considered it at first but quickly migrated to surgery, specifically orthopedic surgery out of preference. yet i think research in and the specialty of pediatric orthopedics itself is really intriguing. the anatomy and orthopedically-related pathology found in children is so vastly different from that of adults that i might be tempted to follow this path.
                                                         
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