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What Is a Pediatrics Clerkship?

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  • Written By: Kenneth W. Michael Wills
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Medical students looking to work in the field of pediatrics will usually need to complete a pediatrics clerkship where they will learn valuable skills and gain important experience in working with children in a clinical setting. Lasting an average of eight weeks, medical students will participate in a variety of healthcare settings that involve children of all ages. Core skills commonly focused on include clinical skills, management skills, interpersonal skills and acquisition of knowledge related to pediatrics. Students attending medical school will often find a clerkship in pediatrics either on campus or with a children’s hospital in a nearby community. Even medical students who will not focus on pediatrics throughout their careers may be required to take a clerkship in pediatrics as part of their curriculum requirements.

During a pediatrics clerkship, medical students will usually learn about a broad range of topics. Preventative care is one such focus, while healthcare maintenance is one that will often include acquiring knowledge of major pediatrics diseases and how to clinically treat them. Child development is another topic of focus, covering from prenatal to adolescence. Medical students will become familiar with how normal and deviant development impacts both the healthcare of children and the types of treatments medical professionals will provide. Students will become oriented to professional literature in pediatrics as well, particularly on how to use that literature effectively when managing treatments programs for children.

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Skills that medical students will develop during a pediatrics clerkship are essential in providing competent clinical care to children. Those skills will include how to accurately gather and record essential data to build pediatric histories as well as how to use that information when conducting physical examinations. Application of basic science and clinical medicine to the pediatric environment is also essential, particularly for planning treatment strategies and developing diagnostic impressions. Interpreting results for a wide range of laboratory tests, radiographic tests and other available data is covered extensively during the clerkship. Most often, students will spend a great deal of time observing and replicating medical procedures to gain first-hand experience.

Interpersonal skills are especially central to a career in pediatrics. Throughout the pediatrics clerkship, medical students will learn and refine communication skills with children, parents and other members of the healthcare establishment. Additionally, ethics are a part of this important communications process, and those considerations are often covered extensively as they apply to pediatrics.

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