How to choose a college for MD Pediatrics?


It’s always difficult to choose something when you have so many options at your disposal. Same is the case with choosing your college for post-graduation. For pediatrics, you have around 300 odd medical colleges in India. It’s not an easy decision to opt one among them as many are equally good. PG aspirants will be confused and they may not be aware what to look in a college to say whether it is good enough or not. So, here I am postings 9 key points which you can refer before choosing your college if you are interested in Pediatrics.


1.       Good work environment

I would give maximum importance to this aspect because you won’t be able to learn much if the work environment of the college is not good enough. This point is applicable for all branches and you should always enquire about this before choosing the college. Some of the prestigious colleges are notorious for their work culture. Even if you get the top facilities, if the attitude of faculties or the other residents are not good, you will have to live under stress for 3 years. I know many people who surrendered their seats in top institutions just because they were tortured. Of course, the working hours will be the maximum in any post graduate course at any college, but it won’t affect your state of mind if the faculties and other staffs are cooperative.

2.       Well trained and experienced faculties

Faculty number as well as quality is important. Also, they should be interested in teaching the residents. Discussions during rounds will be remembered more as compared to what you read from Nelson. Your standards will improve depending upon on the same of your faculty.

3.       Level 3 NICU

In the post graduate curriculum of Pediatrics, 6 to 8 months are dedicated for neonatology and it’s an important sub-specialty of pediatrics. If the college has NICUs which can serve preterm babies of less than 30 weeks and less than 1 Kg, you will able to learn a lot.  Preterm care is an important aspect of neonatology as the fluid calculations and management of serum glucose and serum electrolytes etc. are more challenging in them. Ample opportunities should be there to cannulate, intubate and give surfactant, put umbilical vein catheters and to do exchange transfusions. Setting a ventilator should come like a reflex in your residency. A 12 bedded NICU facility with 3 ventilators, adequate number of CPAP apparatus, infusion pumps, vital monitors etc. is good enough.

4.       Good PICU

I learned a lot (still learning a lot) by working at PICU. We have to make decisions really fast as the condition of the children can become worse rapidly. The management of reactive airway disease in severe exacerbation, status epilepticus, snake bite, renal failure, shock, congenital heart diseases in heart failures etc. can be learned only at a PICU. Procedures like central line insertion, peritoneal dialysis etc. are learned from this very place. Bed strength of 12 with 3 ventilators, adequate number of CPAP apparatus, defibrillators, infusion pumps and vital monitors will suffice.

5.       Dedicated wards for Pediatrics 

Ward management is equally important and you spend around 12 to 14 months at ward. Wards should accommodate at least 80 to 100 patients because only then you will get to see all varieties of patients. It’s important to see atypical presentations of a common disease and typical presentation of a rare disease as these two are the challenges that we face while practice. Minimum 15 to 20 admissions a day has to be there so that you have no shortage of patients to take history and examine. I learned lumbar puncture and bone marrow biopsy from ward itself. It’s a place where you have to deal with the bystanders also, who may not be very cooperative. It’s good to have an isolation ward for infective disease like diarrhea, measles, chicken pox etc. so that risk of transmission can be minimized. 

6.       Crowded OP and Emergency

I used to see around 50 to 60 patients a day at our OP as our OP patient attendance often exceeded 200. The more you see patients, the more you identify sick children with ease. Also, it’s important to have a follow up so that you can be aware whether your treatment had an impact or not. Casualty OP patient load decides the number of ward admission as the sick children often come at casualty and not at referral OP. Emergency management is an important aspect of Pediatrics just like Internal Medicine. Initial management of shock, foreign body in airway, anaphylaxis and seizures are done at casualty itself and you learn to act fast in those situations by encountering similar situations every day.

7.       Adequate deliveries and good obstetrics services

Unless the obstetrics department is good enough and they are entertaining complicated cases, you won’t get good neonatology exposure. Obstetrics and Neonatology go hand in hand. Pediatrician gives the confidence for the Obstetrician to induce/do LSCS in a preterm pregnancy and patient load at obstetrics is directly proportional to the variety of cases that the neonatology department gets. At the place where I am doing my MD, we deal with 27 week preterm babies also.

8.       Sub-specialties

Just like Internal Medicine, Pediatrics also has specialty postings in the second year of residency. We are posted at Pediatric neurology, Nephrology and Cardiology for few weeks in this year. A good knowledge in these specialties is required to be a good Pediatrician and the era of specialization in Pediatrics has come. These days many are opting for DM courses in Pediatrics and it’s good to have sub-specialties at your college so that you can decide where your interest lies.

9.       Importance for academics and publications.

A major chunk of medical colleges don’t give importance to academics in their PG curriculum. It’s important to conduct formal class everyday at least one hour so that students can learn the right thing and not what is usually followed. I know people who can do any procedure but don’t know how to plot growth charts. Some basic things have to be taught by a faculty. Similarly, without publications in PubMed indexed journals, you cannot apply for faculty posts in many institutes. It’s important to participate in a few research works so that by the time you finish your residency, you have some publications in your name.

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