ExternshipsStudent ContributorSummer Opportunities

Amanda Benfante ’20 – Penn State Hershey Medical Group Elizabethtown (PA)

5 Reasons Why I Want to be a Pediatrician

This May, I was given the opportunity to shadow Dr. Denise Telford-Wren, a pediatrician at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Elizabethtown, PA. I spent a week following her around at her office, meeting her patients, and getting to ask as many questions as I wanted about the medical field. In addition, I met multiple medical students and pediatric residents and was able to talk to them and gain a better understanding of what they do. Throughout this week, I learned how difficult and long the path to becoming a pediatrician is. However, I also learned why it is worth it in the end.

1. Science Outside of a Lab
Throughout my life, I have always had an interest in science, but I could never picture myself spending my life working in a lab. As a pediatrician, I would get the opportunity to spend years studying science while also being able to interact with many people on a daily basis.

2. Always Learning
During my externship, I was able to meet medical students, residents, and attending physicians. Because of this, I saw the stages of learning that is necessary to become a doctor. Medical students and residents are constantly asking questions, learning new things, and studying for the many tests that they have to take. However, doctors continue to learn new things throughout their entire careers. They are constantly seeing patients with conditions that they have never seen before and have to keep up with modern medical discoveries.

3. Humbling
During my time spent shadowing Dr. Telford-Wren, we saw many patients from many different backgrounds. There were children growing up with two parents who seemed to know how to take care of them very well while there were also children with complicated and unstable family situations. For example, one patient that we saw was a 10 year old boy with autism who had a mom with severe PTSD and no other family around. The boy and his mother were having a hard time getting adjusted after moving. However, Dr. Telford-Wren was there to help them with anything that they needed from her. As a pediatrician, I would have the opportunity to see patients in difficult situations like this one and offer them my help.

4. Babies
Throughout my externship, I found that there were times when it was difficult to deal with some of the things that I may see as a pediatrician. After seeing the 6 month old girl with a 17 year old mother, the teenage girl with spina bifida, and the 4 month  old boy with a brain malformation, all you need is to see the happy, chubby baby there for its 12 month well visit to make you laugh and brighten your day.

5. See Children Grow
Something that I noticed during my externship is that Dr. Telford-Wren knew her patients and their families very well. She sees a patient for the first time when they are only a few days old and continues to see them until they are an adult. Pediatricians  have the opportunity to be a part of their patients as they grow up. As a pediatrician, I would be able to have a lasting impact on my patients’ lives and help them get through the problems that they have at different stages of their lives.