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Pediatric critical care

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Acceptance into the elective is by application only.

All applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities™ (VSLO®) 

The Janet Weis Children’s Hospital pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) provides a full range of critical care services to the region’s severely ill or injured children. Our 12-bed unit cares for a wide variety of pediatric critical illness such as overwhelming infections, respiratory failure, shock, asthma, status epilepticus, renal failure and endocrinological emergencies. In addition to the care of medical patients, the PICU provides care for pediatric trauma patients and children recovering from major surgeries. The PICU supports an active pediatric cardiovascular surgery program providing postoperative care for these complex patients.

The fourth-year medical student has an extremely active role in the PICU and as such is a very welcomed member of the PICU team. Students become integrated into the daily care of the critically ill child. Owing to the complexity of most PICU patients, the fourth-year medical student (with resident supervision) follows two to three patients at any one time. Duties of the fourth-year student include:

  • Prerounding and data gathering on their primary patients
  • Formal presentation of their patients on attending rounds (see document rounding in the PICU)
  • Assisting or performing (under attending supervision) invasive procedures
  • Writing of daily notes with resident and attending attestations
  • Following up on all ordered diagnostics (imaging, laboratory results)
  • Reviewing the medical literature pertinent to their patients
  • Providing a short oral presentation (15 minutes) to the PICU team on a pediatric critical care topic of their choosing

In appreciation of the hard work students provide, formal teaching will include:

  • Daily bedside teaching including review of all imaging studies
  • Weekly formal critical care lectures
  • Daily noon pediatric lectures
  • Teaching of procedural skills
  • Opportunities to observe pediatric congenital heart surgery
  • Access to a multitude of electronic and print pediatric critical care resources
  • Opportunities for research in the form of case reports

Goals & objectives

The fourth-year elective in pediatric critical illness provides the student with an opportunity to bridge many aspects of the preclinical basic sciences with clinical pathophysiology:

  • The critically ill infant
  • Airway
  • Respiration
  • Cardiovascular
  • Neurological
  • Metabolic
  • Trauma

Contact us

Megan Longenberger, BS
Medical Education Coordinator