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PEDS 421 – Pediatric ICU

Shivani Wadnerkar – Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute

The advice I would like to give future applicants is to be cognizant of how medical education in the U.S. works. It really matters what electives you get and that depends on what the American students are opting for. I think you should be cognizant about this and do your research well and find out what the patterns are and what months are free. I think that will increase your chances of landing an elective.

My experience here has been amazing, I’ve learned so much in the last four weeks. I did a peds ICU elective and I was really scared of ventilators before I got here. I didn’t really understand much my first few days, it was overwhelming. Everyone on the team is extremely kind and helpful, they encouraged all sorts of questions and have gone out of their way to clarify my doubts. My elective required me to be on call and I think that was a little hectic. Being on call gave me the opportunity to go to the ED and multiple floors when there were code blues, it gave me an idea of how the hospital works. I think this is important if you are coming from another medical system because it provides you insight for how the U.S. system works.

I want to pursue PEDS, but to be completely honest, critical care was not one of my top choices and it still isn’t. That’s not because of this elective but due to the nature of the program and because it’s really disheartening to see babies so sick. I think it is a very demanding job, both physically and mentally. My fellows have been the ones from whom I’ve learned the most. My residents have been amazing as well, they’ve gone out of their way to made me feel involved and they’ve taken my suggestions. I was considered an active member of the team, not just an observer. I really like UNC, the town of Chapel Hill, it has an amazing vibe to it. I loved spending the last four weeks here and spending time with the other medical students. We would meet up at Franklin St and then decide what to do. That was an excellent initiative that UNC took, taking us out to dinner to help us bond. I really like how the commute here is and how the hospital and medical school are connected. It can get confusing, but everyone gets used to it. UNC is an excellent place to be at. You often read about UNC being one of the top medical schools in the country, and when you’re actually here you realize why they mean that. I think it’s because academics is so ingrained into clinical practice are every level. Everyone who is at the hospital is learning, the residents, students and fellows are all learning.