Paeds Rotation Done and Dusted

Today was the last day of Paediatrics for my early clinical rotations – and not a moment too soon.

My first two weeks on the rotation were amazing. My group and I were in an infectious ward and the consultants there loved teaching. They learned our names, asked us a lot of questions (which often made us feel stupid but certainly taught us a lot) and allowed us to feel like doctors.

In our two weeks there, we were allowed to make patient-notes (provided we got them co-signed by a doctor) and we got to examine many patients. I learnt so much there and had an amazing time.

Perhaps we should have thought it funny that the three of us were more tired than any of our other colleagues on paediatrics…

For the second half of the rotation, we were in a casualty ward. Not really stitches and resuscitations, more an outpatient-type-vibe. Here we were told not to make patient notes and not to examine a patient without a senior student present. During ward rounds we were not acknowledged as being present and there was absolutely no teaching taking place.

It was a demotivating experience and I resent it. I pay a lot of money to learn, not to be ignored or sent to the chempath lab to deliver urgent samples. [Which, by the way, we also did in our first two weeks, but since we learnt so much we did not mind – it was a welcome break.]

Now Paediatrics is over and when the time comes to reviewing the module, I shall be brutally honest.

Fortunately, I did see some interesting cases. I saw a patient with Kawasaki’s Disease (which is rare in South Africa), a patient with Shigella Dysentery (which is a good learning opportunity); one with cystic fibrosis and one with hydrocephaly. The latter two are by no means rare, but after learning the theory last year it is good to examine such patients. I also saw patients with IRIS, but more about that later.

I am sad that our learning experiences are not always very educationally oriented. At an academic hospital complex such as ours, the teaching mindset should have been instilled many years ago.


  1. teawithmd says:

    I know so well what it feels like to not be acknowledged on wards. It is the most demotivating experience ever and it made me question whether I wanted to go into medicine. I’m glad to read that I’m not alone. I think it does differ so much depending on your team members, and I think as a resident, you will have so many responsibilities that you will be a more essential part of the care team. So I imagine it gets better!

    1. Thanks for popping by! I’m certain it does get better, but I think it’s the responsibility of senior students, residents etc. to include students in what happens in the ward. It’s the only way they learn. Soon I’ll be a student intern, and I hope that I will make it a pleasant learning experience for my juniors.

  2. anon says:

    I read this post 4 weeks ago before starting my paeds rotation. I told my self it has been 3 years things definitely changed by now and I was excited for the rotation. I had tuts in hospital and skills lab for the 1st 2 weeks, this was informative yet a little boring as it wasn’t exactly clinical work. Week 3 I was in GG and week 4 endo, I can’t exactly say I’ve learnt anything, it was 2 weeks of being ignored and lingering in wards. Something need to be done about this. I feel like having a solid paeds foundation is essential.

    1. Ai. I have to say that the Paeds rotation for thirds years has just gotten more annoying. I have been told that you guys get very little contact with the kiddies, which is a shame because fourth year paeds is very challenging and you need a good foundation. I don’t really know what to say except that I agree: something needs to be done. The problem, as I’m sure you’re aware, is that a lot of people on campus complain but never take it to the right channels. If you can convince your class, the most effective method of action would be if the WHOLE class signed a letter of complaint and demanded a change. It sounds drastic but when it’s just a few people complaining, the university tends not to take the complaint seriously. Good luck and let me know if I can help. I wish you had had a better Paeds experience, because it’s a lovely specialty.

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