Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics

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COMSEP 2008 Atlanta Meeting

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Innovative Approach to Education in the Newborn Nursery

Authors:
Robert Kaslovsky,Trish Sheridan
West Virginia University School of Medicine

Most curricula for third year pediatrics commonly include experience in the newborn nursery, with the minimal goal of familiarity with the newborn examination. In past years, our students spent two half days to accomplish this goal. Since July, 2007 students are assigned an entire week of newborn medicine. They begin their day with a faculty pediatrician and residents who round on babies in the nursery. This experience focuses on proficiency with the newborn examination. In order to provide additional exposure to newborns, time is spent with the nurse practitioners from the Pediatrix Medical Group, who combined share a total of more than 70 years of newborn experience.  After completing morning rounds the students join the NP in the nursery for more exam experience and follow them as they speak with families.  Because many of these students have never touched a baby before, they return to the nursery in the afternoon and participate in newborn care with the staff. The NP's tailor the week to each student's needs, the goal is to end the week with a comfort level handling the littlest patients. Skills taught include holding, changing, feeding, and bathing of babies. Instruction of new mothers by students is encouraged. One of the afternoons is spent with the board certified lactation specialist learning about breast feeding and the benefits of breast milk to the infant. Once the students are comfortable with routine baby care, they then have the opportunity of attending teaching rounds in the neonatal ICU with the attending neonatologist, where they get a perspective on care of preterm infants. By the end of the week, all students have had significant experience with newborns. Students who have personal experience with infants can spend more time in the NICU, once they have demonstrated the required skills. Feedback from the students has been extremely positive, many of them expressing their previous inexperience with babies in any setting.