August 1, 2011

10 Things I Learned in Pediatrics

1. it matters what medication tastes like. kids will stop taking medication altogether if you give them something icky. the peds floor might be the only floor in the hospital where patients actually prefer to take medication per rectum...

2. talk to the whole family. in peds especially, but in all medicine, it matters what - and who - makes up the environment that someone heals in

3. kids shouldn't like being in the hospital. and really, neither should adults. so don't blame anyone too much for being grumpy.

4. at the same time, the hospital is not a hotel. we have to wake people up to take their vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc) to make sure they are okay, to figure out if the treatment is working - so as important as a goods night sleep is to healing, they're in the hospital so we can check on them.

5. if you take a phone call from a panicked patient (or mother, father, grandmother, babysitter, etc) get their name, phone number, and figure out how far they are from the hospital and what sort of transportation they have available - BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE. otherwise, how can you get to them if the line goes dead?

6. children are not little adults. this is said all the time in peds, but it's so important to remember. there are things that kids recover from faster and better than adults (hello, cancer!) but there are things that kids can't handle that larger adults would have no problem fighting (heyyy pneumonia)

7. treating people who are sick does not mean you can't add a little fun into your day. we had a bbq chicken party with one patient who had been in the hospital for almost 4 months, one of our patients with ewing's sarcoma started a friendship bracelet "shop" in her room (and swindled us all out of many dollars), and we regularly completed "medical rebuses" by drawing funny pictures on the whiteboard to create medical terminology.

8. when you think about kids, you always think about growth and development - almost any kind of illness or injury is okay if it doesn't affect growth and development so those crazy charts are critical and can tell you so much about how a kid is doing.

9. so much goes on at a hospital at night. and people's interactions get more intimate at night - I guess partly because we're the only people up.

10. if someone comes into the ER with decreased consciousness, here is a list of the "5 things you can do while someone tries to start an IV" that take less than a 3rd year medical student knowledge to know how to do : 1) get a history, especially allergies medications and chronic medical issues, 2) do a physical, especially vitals 3) give oxygen, 4) get a glucose, 5) put an AED on their chest (just in case)

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