What I've learned so far on pediatrics...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I'm almost done with my pediatrics rotation and I can confidently say that I've learned some valuable life lessons:
1. Don't ask a kid whether you can look in their ears, listen to their lungs, examine their stomach, or whether they want to sit on the exam table. 9 times out of 10 the answer will be "No!" You can give a kid options ("which ear do you want me to look in first?") although from my experience, this doesn't always work either. I'm pretty sure that we discussed this in "Examining the Young Child 101" the first year of medical school, but I still started off way too many peds exams by "Will you please sit on the exam table for me?
2. Two words: poker face. So for example, when your patient sees you with your attending (who is 30 years older and 6 inches shorter) and asks "Mommy, are they married?" you avoid a look of complete horror or bursting out laughing.
3. Apparently a bulging tympanic membrane (a.k.a. infected eardrum) looks just like a cervix. I didn't come up with this myself, mostly because my tympanic membrane descripters are still limited to "looks red" and "doesn't look normal, probably infected", but my attending last week assured me that when I identify a bulging tympanic membrane it will look like a cervix:
Bulging eardrum:
And he may be right.

4. Upon entering a child's room, you will immediately be questioned as to where the shot is and if you are giving them a shot. After they realize that you really aren't going to give them a shot (that's reserved for last, from the nurse), they will relax for two minutes until you pull out your otoscope and try to look in their ear.

5. Examining a kid's ears (especially if they are under 5) is one of the hardest things that you will do in medical school. Case in point: the little girl (who will forever be engrained in my memory) who let out a blood-curdling shriek when my otoscope entered her ear canal. It seriously scared me. The best part was that when my attending came in, the patient kept telling him that "My ear's broke! My ear's broke!"


6. Stickers really do cure all ills. Except for one little girl who was so mad about getting her shots that she would not accept a sticker.


6. 90% of pediatric patients will have a runny nose with yellowish-green discharge. The other 10% will have diarrhea. It is a small miracle that I have not gotten deathly ill yet. It's probably because for the entire last 6 weeks I have looked something like this:

source: whatshouldwecallmedschool

7. Never, ever understimate a kid. I have found orange chunks in a kid's ears and an object in a kid's nose that had been there for months. Kids are very, very crafty.

I'm not sure that I'm cut out (or called) to be a pediatrician, but I will say that I've learned a lot in the last 6 weeks. I've also stored away various dos and don'ts for when Stephen and I have kids. So, while I won't exactly miss pediatrics, I'm grateful for the funny moments and life lessons.


  1. LOL. Love this! (And I _only_ write "LOL" when I am, in fact, laughing out loud.) :-)

  2. Being that we just brought out 2 yo to the ped YESTERDAY for a check up, this made me laugh. He was quite happy with his clothes on and didn't want to get weighed. He most definitely did not want to lay down to be measured. I almost felt bad for the doctor. I didn't feel bad because the ped constantly talks down to me.

  3. Great post.
    Describes my day.... Almost everyday.


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