What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post was submitted by Katie Lockwood, MD.

We are real doctors. So we don’t appreciate it when you ask for the real doctor. Or when you ask how long we have been practicing or how old we are. All of these questions stir up our own insecurities about how we aren’t yet functioning without supervision, that we count our time in practice in months rather than years, and that while we are starting to get gray hairs, they are premature. We understand why you ask though, because if someone like us appeared to take care of our child, we would consider the same questions. You want what is best for your child.

The good news is that we do too. We love children. Pediatrics is our passion. We approach pediatrics with an eagerness that an older, seasoned physician may no longer share. We are still excited by every minute detail of your child’s history and illness. We are eager to seek out answers for you and ambitious enough not to settle for less than you deserve. We are expected to be up-to-date with cutting edge protocols and research, and often are involved in these things ourselves. And those more experienced physicians are still supervising us, so you get the best of both!

The best part about having a pediatric resident involved in your child’s care is that your child will likely make a huge impact on the development of this pediatrician. As a resident, many of my patients changed my life forever. They changed the way I view mortality, fortified my approach to a challenge, and enhanced my own resiliency. Your child made me a better doctor, which made me better for your child and all the other children who I will care for in the future.

The 3 years I spent as a pediatric resident were some of my most grueling days—emotionally and physically. The hospital became my home and my co-residents were my family. Like any family, we had our good times and our bad. They saw me at my personal lows and highs and supported me unconditionally throughout. I emerged at the end of this journey a stronger and better person.
If your child is hospitalized at an academic or teaching hospital, chances are that a resident will be the one at your bedside at 3AM, the most familiar face on pediatric rounds, the one tirelessly managing your child’s treatment plan, and the person searching for the answers you need. There is a reason that hospitals call them the house officers or house staff because they spend a majority of their training in the hospital and as a result are always there when needed. A pediatric resident can be your best asset in getting the medical care your child needs. In turn, your child will forever impact the life and career of a doctor. No matter how many years we have been in practice, we all tell stories of a patient we saw once in residency who still informs our medical decision-making. I am grateful for all of the families who trusted the care of their children to me and I carry their memories with me each day as I care for others.

[All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.]