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Swati John – Kasturba Medical College Manipal (India)

PEDS 421 – Pedatric ICU

I did my PICU elective here at UNC Chapel Hill. My usual day would start at 6 am, with the handover from the resident, pre-rounding on patients, presenting during rounds, typing up patient notes, observing procedures and working up on new admits. Initially I was scared, because all these children had so many complex conditions and it was hard to wrap my head around each medical problem and formulate a plan. But, slowly there were certain aspects of the plan that I would come fowrad with and it helped me build confidence.

My favorite part of the elective was the 10-minute teaching lesson and x-ray rounds. I always learned something new every day and it put me into a habit of interpreting x-rays on my own before reading the radiologist’s report.

I saw a variety of cases ranging from traumatic brain injury, hemolytic uremic syndrome, diabetic ketoacidosis, febrile seizures, status epilepticus and bronchiolitis. Something that I learned in common was management of any child in acute distress and doing it in an organized way. I would also interact with the families of the patients, update them about the changes every day and answer their questions, something I got comfortable with eventually. I felt very much part of the team, as we would page the consult team, have a one-on-one conversation with them, formulate a plan and attend pediatric rapid responses. The fellow and attendings were super helpful; they pushed me to do better every day and provided me with valuable feedback every day.

I would recommend applying for the electives well in advance, with at least one prior elective experience before PICU as things are quite different. My experience here has definitely helped me gain insight about the US medical system, present my cases confidently, and type up patient notes.

I would like to thank Camila and the international team for making this a wonderful experience – the application process, helpful transport and safety tips on Orientation day, and the UNC dinner.