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Sowmya Kruttiventi – Coimbatore Medical College (India)

PEDS 445 – Pediatric Gastroenterology

What do you like about your elective experience at UNC?
I chose this elective because I have always been clear that I am interested in Pediatrics. I wasn’t too sure about what Pediatric GI would be like. Honestly, I was a little concerned that, as a subspecialty, it would be very in-depth and above my pay grade. But, as it turns out, Pediatric GI actually deals with a lot of common problems that kids present with. It is a very nice primer if you want to go into general pediatrics. I also like the fact that this is mostly an outpatient rotation. I enjoy working in the clinics. It gives me the opportunity to see many different kinds of patients and interact with a lot of people. I also love how hands-on this elective is. The clinics are super busy, which translates to more learning opportunities. I had the chance to work in the Raleigh clinic as well, which was a really good experience. The attendings devote a great deal of time to teaching and answering my questions, so I feel like I am constantly learning something new. That’s always a good thing!

What does a typical day look like for you?
As I mentioned, I spend most of my time in the clinics. I also make sure to attend the Resident conferences. I generally start off my day by going to Morning Report, which is usually a case presentation and discussion. The residents always make it witty and interesting, so this is a great way to start the day! They also have a daily noon conference, and Grand Rounds every Thursday. I spend mornings and afternoons in clinic. I always have fun seeing new patients. Note-writing is also something that I really enjoy. The attendings also let me tag along when they are seeing their patients. I really appreciate how the attendings take time to go through the note with me and give me feedback then and there. I also join the team for rounds for a few days in the week, so this is good opportunity to learn how the inpatient service runs. I always end up learning a bunch of new things. Rounds are usually followed by a teaching session by one of the fellows. The environment at UNC is very focused on teaching, and this is something that I have really come to appreciate and look forward to.

Did you face any challenges?
Well, I wouldn’t call it a challenge, but something I have had to get used to is EPIC. Electronic medical records are just starting to catch on in India. EPIC definitely makes everyone’s life easier, but it just takes a little time to learn. I was pretty nervous about using EPIC at first, but I think I figured it out!

Do you have advice for future students?
Don’t stress about it too much. Don’t spend too much time with your head buried in a book. Knowing things is good, but you always learn more when you interact with patients. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because everyone is super nice! Also, presentations are a great way to learn new stuff. Chances are, you’ll probably be required to do some. But if not, it’s always nice to volunteer to present something. Enjoy the entire experience as well, because Chapel Hill is a lovely town!