Medical School Rotations: Pediatrics Clerkship

23 March 2015

*Disclaimer: My experience on every rotation is very site-specific. It may not necessarily apply to your clerkships. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

What I liked:

Kids are pretty funny! And usually super friendly if they know they're not getting shots that day, OR they really like the doctor. I had a tiny little 6 year-old girl whisper to her mom "I really like her. I want to be her best friend," as she was walking out the door, and it MADE MY MONTH. 
I really enjoy the teen population - I think it would be something I would consider (Adolescent Medicine) if I didn't have my sights set on other specialities. 
I had the opportunity to work with a pediatric cardiologist every week, so I began to figure out echocardiograms by the end of the rotation. Pretty neat, but no bueno for the kiddies.
Children bounce back so quickly from any illness!
I've never seen so many different rashes in my life. I loved it! 
No polypharmacy (or super rare).
Turning everything into a game when you do the physical exam. Hehe
Stickers and princess talk. Heck, anything Frozen. Even after 6 weeks, I still wasn't sick of little girls and boys singing from the soundtrack. They're just so stinkin' cute!
I absolutely adored all 3 doctors I worked with at the clinic. They were made of sunshine, rainbows and unicorns! At times, with a side of sarcasm ;)

What I disliked:

I wish I had seen more 'zebras'. Since I was in the outpatient clinic the whole 6 weeks, I didn't have the opportunity to get inpatient experience with rare diseases. Womp!
Parents (half of them needed therapy, I swear). 
Screaming babies.
Crying children. 
Not so much dislike, but more of a really depressing feeling: when I saw babies after cardiac surgery, or children on chemo. I have a real soft spot for kiddos, and when they're that sick it breaks my heart and I can't stop thinking about it for weeks. This happened to me again on my pediatric surgery rotation :(

How I prepared for the clerkship:
Read Case Files for Pediatrics
Asked to review a disease each week with the site director/attending (ie/ Crohn's Disease, Juvenile Arthritis, etc).

How I prepared for the shelf:

The shelf was one of the toughest I took to date, so keep in mind it can cover ANYTHING related to the pediatric population. I read Case Files twice, and made notes. I covered all of the online cases (they're from the same site as the FMcases), did UWorld twice, and covered all the questions in BRS Pediatrics. If I had to do it again I would have skipped doing Case Files, and instead delved into BRS from the beginning. Although very dense, it covers every topic on the shelf exam. 

Oh and my boyfriend just matched into pediatrics, and will be in the Chicago area for the next 3 years. YAYYA!!


image source:1, 2, 3


  1. I'm an incoming MS1 and love reading your posts. Congrats on your boyfriend's match!

    When do you (or just med students in general) have time to study for shelf exams? On evenings and weekends? I'm assuming that during the day you're at your rotation.

    Also, do you have any tips on improving communication skills with patients? I have a sense of humor but I'm not very good at bantering, so sometimes people think I'm quiet or shy. Thanks!

    1. Shelf exam studying is typically done in the evening and weekends as you mentioned. Many students find as much small pockets of time as possible to study while at the hospital as well. I was able to do this on a couple rotations (particularly peds).
      As for improving communication skills, I would suggest talking to as many new people as possible. I grew up in a salon, and then did tons of volunteering in hospitals (specifically involving patient interaction) - hence, lots of exposure really early and consistently. It really is all about confidence and reading body language/adjusting your own as needed. Like prepping for exams, Practice Makes Perfect!
      Congrats on getting into medical school!!!

  2. nice post!

  3. I really liked pediatrics for the same reasons as you :) but I could not do it as a professional one day because seeing really sick kids breaks my heart!


    1. Riiight?! I'm too sensitive to handle very sick children, especially ones who have a chance of passing away. I can't deal with it.

  4. Thanks for the post ! (I'm the anon from Tumblr)
    Also congratulations to your boyfriend ! Paediatrics is my favorite (second only to Surgery) which is why i was really awaiting your post :)

    1. Ooh great to know! And keep me posted on your peds (or surgery) journey <3


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