September 10, 2014, by studentcontributor

A day in paediatrics

tjHi everyone, it’s TJ again. Paediatrics is one of the specialities that future medical students get very excited about and also one of the ones that they enjoy the most so I’m going to tell you about what I’ve been up to in one of my busier days!


Cardiology tutorial- Today, one of the consultants is teaching us about the different types of congenital heart disease, and asking lots of questions too. Clinical tutorials vary quite a lot – they may be in a small group which is quite interactive or be more like a presentation to a larger audience. Beware of daydreaming though as you’ll probably be called out on it!


Kite team- We now visit the “Kids In Their Environment” team who are a group of specialist professionals who work with children with long-term disabilities or complex conditions such as those needing PEG feeding (a tube directly into their stomach), those with an artificial airway or those with severe motor or speech difficulties. We discussed the important things to be aware of when seeing these families such as financial responsibilities and emotional stress. A mum of an 8-year-old boy with cerebral palsy then came in to talk to us about the daily difficulties she has to personally work through. Listening to her was touching and quite distressing but the issues she mentioned are important to understand. It also reminded us that Paediatrics isn’t just about kids but about their whole family too.


Break- It’s finally time for lunch which I eat in the Doctor’s Mess. This is where all the students hang out; it’s a great place to relax and see everyone and they even have free tea and coffee!


Ward based study- This is a session where a group of you are allocated to one of the children’s wards. Today, we go in pairs to each take a history and do an examination. One of the biggest challenges in Paediatrics is being able to communicate well with both parents and children, at the same time. This afternoon, that means asking the parents of a 2-year-old girl lots of detailed questions about her diarrhoea and vomiting, but making sure I involve her too! I then carried out a respiratory exam on the toddler. She started out just grabbing my stethoscope but, as you end up doing a lot, I just rolled with it! I let her decide what order I would listen to the different areas of her chest and tummy with and although it took a bit longer, it meant I could properly listen without upsetting her. When working with kids, it can be quite hard to stick to a structure but the more you practise, the less you miss out! We then present back to a doctor who gives us feedback – this can be quite scary but is really useful in helping you to improve. The doctor then comes with us to carry out a developmental assessment on a 3-year-old boy. This was really fun as we pretty much just got to play with him whilst checking that his motor, language and social development were as expected for his age. For example, most 3-year-olds should be able to jump so we all bounced around and got him to join in too.


Time to go home!


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