In his final installment of the series "Pearls from the trenches," Dr. Farber encourages pediatricians to think outside the box, to trust their "sixth sense" when it comes to treating patients, and always to look at what they are doing from the parents' and child's point of view.
This is my final installment of pearls. The articles have been a collection of practical tips gleaned mostly from in-office experience rather than textbooks. As such, any pediatrician can generate his or her own. There are several tricks for doing this. First and foremost is to keep an open mind and question imparted wisdom, even if ultimately accepted. I have heard it said that half of what we practice now will be out-of-date in 10 years, but the trick is to know which half. It is also important to analyze your own clinical approaches from time to time (eg, is it necessary to check deep tendon reflexes at an annual checkup?), and avoid treating children by rote, especially when your “sixth sense” suggests something atypical is going on. Try to think outside the box; it will make your job more fun. Lastly, always put yourself in the parents’ and child’s shoes, and look at what you are doing from their perspective. It will make you a much better pediatrician.
Dr Farber is a pediatrician in Woodbridge, Virginia. He has nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.