Academic Pediatric Hospitalist Shares His Career

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Session 93

Dr. Potisek is an academic Pediatric Hospitalist. Today, he discusses the reasons he chose pediatrics, the different facets of his job, and the types of patients he sees.

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[01:10] Interest in Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine

Dr. Potisek has always enjoyed being around kids. But it was during the third year of medical school that he realized there were so many things about pediatrics that he really loved. So by the end of that year, he was choosing between internal medicine and pediatrics. Ultimately, what drew him to pediatrics is the resiliency of kids. He also likes the incorporation of families as you also take care of, not just the child, but the family members as well.

Before Dr. Potisek decided to go to medical school, his dad got very sick. He saw that the kind of communication a physician has with the loved ones, not only makes a difference for that individual but for the entire family as well. Additionally, Dr. Potisek describes himself as a good communicator. And so this was something he was looking forward to going into this career.

[04:45] Traits that Lead to Being a Good Pediatric Hospitalist

Pediatric hospitalists either work in a community hospital or in an academic setting. Oftentimes, you have to work well in a team. You have to be able to work well with your colleagues and be able to communicate well with patients and their families. Teaching is also an important skill, not only for learners but also for patients and their families so they can understand what’s going on.

[06:15] Hospitalist vs Outpatient Pediatrician

What drew Dr. Potisek more to being a hospitalist over being an outpatient pediatrician is the acuity of care, which he likes more. He likes dealing with “sicker” children and some of the medical mysteries he deals with. He also likes working with numerous subspecialists as they try to figure out the problem. Hence, the two big things he likes about being a hospitalist is the acuity of care and the complexity of diseases he encounters.

[07:30] Typical Patients

During Fall through Winter, Dr. Potisek deals with a ton of respiratory conditions, with bronchiolitis as a heavy-hitter. He also deals with pneumonia (viral or bacterial) and other respiratory-related diseases that are more seasonal-dependent. He also takes care of neonates, infants 30 days or less. Other common cases would be skin and soft tissue, bone infections. They’re also taking care more and more of medically complex children who are technology-dependent.

[08:55] Typical Week

Half of his time is geared towards pediatric hospitalist medicine while the other half is dedicated to teaching medical students and residents. He works seven days in a row. Mondays thru Fridays would typically start from 7am to 5:30 to 6pm. On weekends, he works for those same hours in the hospital and he’d just take calls from home for new admissions. He also works at night although this is not the majority of what he does. This only happens about 2-3 weeks of the year. When not doing patient care, he’d usually do curriculum development and other teaching activities.

[10:19] Doing Procedures

Dr. Potisek found that a lot of procedures are already done in the emergency department And if they aren’t, they’d typically do a lumbar puncture. There are also pediatric hospitalists across the country that are trained in sedation, which they could incorporate into their practice.

[11:12] Training Path

After medical school, you would typically do a three-year pediatric residency. Then you can do a fellowship for 2-3 years. There are different options you can take such as additional master training, research, etc. So from the completion of medical, it takes around 5 years in total. That being said, Dr. Potisek has friends who are more outpatient-predominant.

Currently, people are being grandfathered in. Because of the many pediatric hospitalists and the lack of fellowships, they see this as an opportunity. People can have a certain amount of hours leading into the board exam.

[14:00] Subspecialty Opportunities and Bias Against DOs

A lot of fellowships are actually allowing opportunities for pediatric hospitalists. As with bias against DOs in the field, Dr. Potisek hasn’t really seen this. At their hospital, they have a number of residents who are DO-trained.

[15:44] Working with Primary Care and Outside of Clinical Medicine

Dr. Potisek wishes to tell primary care physicians that they reach out earlier to them. Moreover, there are special opportunities outside of clinical medicine that pediatric hospitalists can do such as outpatient opportunities.

[18:10] Most and Least Like Things About Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine

What Dr. Potisek likes most about his specialty is working with learners – students, residents, pharmacists, and nursing staff. On the flip side, what he likes the least about his specialty is that sometimes you don’t necessarily think that a child needs to be hospitalized all the time. But at the same time, he respects his emergency department colleagues. But at the end of the day, if this brings peace of mind to the family, he’d just have to honor the initial decision of his colleagues. That being said, he still finds that sometimes it’s unnecessary.

'Sometimes, I don't necessarily think that it needs to be hospitalized but that seed has already been planted for them.'Click To Tweet

[21:55] Major Changes in the Field and Final Words of Wisdom

It would be interesting to see more fellowships popping up and so Dr. Potisek is excited to see a more developed curriculum. Ultimately, if he had to do it all over again, he would still have chosen the same field. He wishes to impart to students that whatever it is you want to do, just remember why you decided to get into medicine in the first place. Remember what you love about it and where can you maximize the things that you love. It can be challenging at times so having that understanding at the forefront of your mind is helpful.

'Just remember the joy and the love you have about the things that you do.'Click To Tweet


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