Pursuing Pediatrics: Tips from MU-COM Alumni - Part 1

by Student Worker Jenny Rodriguez | Sep 23, 2021

Katie Loke '23 | September 23, 2021

“Pathway

As an aspiring pediatrician, I reached out to numerous MU-COM alumni to learn more about becoming a pediatrician and what it is like to be a pediatrician. After receiving insight from five alumni in different stages of their careers, I wanted to share their thoughts with other students who may be interested in pediatrics, as well. 

What made you chose pediatrics?

    For some, the path to choosing a specialty is very straightforward. For others, deciding what specialty they want to go into can be very difficult. I asked the alumni what inspired them to become pediatricians because I was curious how each of them navigated that decision.

    Katelyn Dato-on headshot

    Katelyn Dato-on ‘21: I grew up with a brother, 10 years younger, who played a significant role in my journey to pediatrics. From a young age, I was fascinated watching him grow and develop and explore the world around him. From then, I never questioned whether or not I wanted to work with children. I love that you have this unique ability to inspire change and instill healthy habits in your patients’ lives as you care for them in very critical periods of growth and development. Every day I am continually energized by their light-heartedness, curiosity, and resilience. It is where I feel most inspired and where I feel that I can make the biggest impact. Not to mention, children are pretty hilarious too which makes the days a lot more fun!

    Katelyn Campbell headshot

    Katelyn Campbell ’20: All sorts of reasons! I love working with kids and adolescents. Probably one of the main reasons I chose peds is because I love preventative medicine and healthcare policy. Pediatrics gives me the earliest intervention point for preventative medicine, and policy is an important part of pediatrics. Some people say they could never do peds because of the parents whereas I love that the smallest unit I’m expected to work with for my patients is the entire family.

    Tyler King headshot

    Tyler King '18: I was between many different specialties and honestly loved all of my third-year rotations. What seemed to be one unifying theme was how much I enjoyed working with the pediatric population during rotations. There is something to be said about diseases of childhood and patient resiliency that resonated with me. One other huge determining factor was the education piece that came with pediatrics as a specialty. We are working with patients and caregivers to best serve them and the educational aspect was so personally rewarding.

    Sarah Olvey headshot
    Sarah Olvey '18: For me, there was no other choice but pediatrics. I knew when I went into medicine that it was the path I would take. I have always loved working with children, and my pediatric rotations just confirmed that. When it comes to children, there is just something really special about them. Their innocence, their imagination, their pure joy, and their strength—it is captivating but often overlooked. Their naivety keeps them from understanding the gravity of several situations, but it also allows them to have more hope and more heart than the average human. I get so much joy from working with kids and their parents in order to make sure we help them live their most optimal life.
    Rachel Gahagen headshot
    Rachel Gahagen '17: I felt (and still feel) that there is no career more rewarding than caring for children. I appreciate the connections I am able to make with both patients and their parents. I am able to advocate for children on both an individual and community basis. Children are so resilient and, although there is always death in medicine, the good outcomes outweigh the bad by multiples.

    Each of the physicians expressed their different motivations and passions within pediatrics, and I think that highlights how everyone brings something unique to whatever specialty they chose which is important for the patients we serve.

    Thank you to the alumni for their time!
    To the MU-COM alumni, thank you for paving the way for current and future students and for taking the time out of your busy schedules to share your insight about pediatrics. Each one of their responses shows their dedication and compassion for the patients and families they care for. We are so lucky to have you all to look up to.

    About the author

    Katie Lepak headshot

    Katie Loke is a third-year medical student at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM). Prior to attending MU-COM, Katie attended and graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science. Katie was the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) President at MU-COM as a second-year medical student. As the SOMA President, Katie coauthored two resolutions that were passed as National SOMA policy—one on disability education for medical students and one on sex trafficking education for physicians and medical students. Katie also enjoys volunteering for Children’s TherAplay, a pediatric hippotherapy facility, where she helps patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities during their therapy sessions. Additionally, she did research at Riley Hospital for Children through the Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. When Katie is not studying or working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, dog, and cat, trying new food, and exploring Indianapolis with friends.

    Continue to Pursuing Pediatrics Part 2.

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