Every medical student has an “audition rotation” – the time they spend rotating through their career of choice. Now it’s my turn. The career: pediatric anesthesiology. The mentality: kids are awesome. I spent some time over the weekend reading articles about the pre, intra, and post-operative anesthesia considerations inherent to pediatric cases. To summarize, well, children are a different species. 😛
I’m only three days into the elective, but I’ve had a blast! I’ve discovered a great privilege in taking care of the future generations of our society. In fact, the care of pediatric patients is two-pronged: easing the anxiety of parents and then providing the highest level of care possible to their children. After doing our pre-ops with the family, a powerful transition of care takes place near the entrance of the operating room. As the parents give their child a hug/kiss and part ways, their babies become our responsibility. I’ve felt this sense of “ownership” before with adult patients, but it was exponentially more pronounced with these children.
In the operating room itself, everything is about providing comfort and a safe environment to the child. We distract them with conversation and games, give them scented masks (bubblegum flavor smells awesome), and even bring them to the O.R. in a wagon! Kids are so lucky to be kids. That being said, these precious babies are entrusted to us for protection and care, and it’s a job the anesthesiologists take very seriously. From the proper size of the mask to a gentle intubation, everything has to be absolutely perfect! Although post-operative pain can never be controlled 100%, returning to the PACU an hour later and seeing a mother comfortably embracing her drowsy child, thanking the anesthesiologist for taking care of her baby and knowing everything is alright… there’s really no greater feeling than that.
In other news, aside from a required month-long course all MS4s have to take next March, I only have two months of electives (pediatric anesthesiology and then a sub-internship in either surgery or medicine) till I’m finished with my medical school coursework. I was also nominated for membership to the Gold Humanism Honor Society, so I worked on finishing an essay for final consideration. I’ll find out the results in the coming months! 🙂