Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pediatric Surgery Recap

It's hard to believe that my second month of residency is almost over!

This month was spent doing pediatric surgery, which is what I ultimately hope to do with my life. Needless to say, I've really enjoyed this month: from the patients to the procedures. Despite enjoying the rotation, it's been another crazy busy month.

The rotation usually has 3 fellows, 1 PGY-2, 2 PGY-1s, and an NP. At one point this month it was just the 3 fellows and me, as the PGY-2 was on vacation and the NP was speaking at a conference. I'm thankful for the extra help from the fellows, but it was a little overwhelming to be taking care of 20+ floor patients (fellows cover the NICU/ PICU). It's been so busy, that even though I'm leaving when I need to for duty hours, I've found myself having to finish up 2-3 hours of notes and dictations from home on multiple nights over the month (which, I've been told, isn't a violation, so I'm okay).

That being said, I have had the opportunity to operate this month. I've helped on a few really cool cases and I've gotten to be "surgeon junior" on a few lumps and bumps, for which I'm very grateful.

One of the fellows this month asked me why I wanted to do pediatric surgery, after my explanation, she said she loved it for the same reasons. So I thought I'd share here: Pediatric Surgeons are some of the last general surgeons (I'll throw trauma in there as well). Nowadays, most of surgery is really segmented, but outside of pediatric neurosurgery, orthopedics, cardiothoracic, and urology (all of which are separate specialities, minus CTS), the pediatric surgeon does everything else.

And while I know most pediatric surgeons see hernias and appendectomies all day, it's the congenital "stuff" that I love: gastroschisis, omphaloceles, duodenal atresias, tracheoesophageal fistulas, sacrococcygeal teratomas, Hirschsprung's disease, imperofrate anus, pyloric stenosis. I find the disease mechanisms so fascinating. Yes, I feel horrible for the kids that have these conditions, but I love that we can step in and change their lives.

So that is what I've been filling my last four weeks up with. I'm actually kind of sad the month is ending.

Other things happening in my life:
Hmm, let's see... My dad went back to the hospital with a complication during the first week of the month, and was in the hospital for about 2 weeks. But he's doing well now, and is home recuperating.

I've gotten yelled at in the middle of M&M for not studying at all, since I didn't know one thing. While I know I should have been better prepared, I think it's more than a little reactionary to assume I've not done anything in the past 2 months, when you don't actually know.

For the record: I've read 300+ pages of sabiston, read about my patient's conditions, and read for conference every week (usually prepping all the cases, not just the 3-4 interesting cases I'm expected to read). I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's really frustrating to be told you aren't doing your job at all when 1) they only see you for 1 hour a week, 2) don't see your work ethic on the job, and 3) have no idea what your actually doing to prepare.

On to happier things: I received a pair of loupes from an awesome twitter friend. I finally became a Tennessee resident. I got my nails done (twice if you count later today). And have had dinner with a good friend twice, including time to vent our mutual frustrations about residency (you got to do it every once and awhile, no matter how much you enjoy your job).

On that note, it's time for me to hit up Sabiston again.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend and my prayers and luck to all you on the east coast; May Irene treat you more kindly than expected.

Also, next month's rotation is: Endoscopy/ Nutrition

P.S. Sorry for the lack of picture, I wrote this on pages on the iPad and then cut and pasted into blogger on the iPad (blogger, we need an app!)


  1. Hey, Dr. Katie! It's good to read of your experiences -- and nice article on you, too! Looking forward and hope all's going well in Memphis! Thinking of you. jeanie

  2. Your posts are just absolutely inspiring, and descriptive. Reading each and every post makes me feel like I'm in the action! Thanks for doing this!