In October, FirstMed pediatrician, Dr. Annamaria Wilde joined over 9,000 medical professionals at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) annual conference in San Diego, California. In addition to the conference Dr. Wilde had a chance to visit US hospitals to enhance her expertise and view the current ‘best practices’ employed in an international hospital. We asked her about her experiences.
Can you tell us a little about the conference?
The main conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics hosts not just pediatricians, but also university students, pediatric nurses and other medical professionals, each year with lectures, seminars, and training. The training was held in English and Spanish from morning until late afternoon covering several topics at various locations. We were able to sign up for a series of lectures given by different colleges with the chance to meet experts, attend interactive workshops, and learn about new medical directives. They placed great emphasis on practical skills by providing hands-on training in operations of different specialties, for example we could practice resuscitation and electric defibrillation treatments.
What impressions did you have during the conference and what types of lectures did you attend?
I chose lectures that would help widen my horizons, helping me improve my practice at home. I would highlight three things. I have many patients with chronic cough. During one lecture I found the most important steps to diagnose this illness along with the most important tests to conduct. The other topic that interested me was breastfeeding. In the FirstMed’s prenatal education classes I am the one who covers breastfeeding therefore I was curious about new ideas to add to my presentation. I was pleased to see that the main directives are very similar to the ‘La Leche Liga’, or ‘The Milk League’, which is present here in some Hungarian birthing hospitals. My third area of interest was pediatric specialties such as ophthalmology and orthopedics. These subjects are only lightly mentioned at the university, so the lectures were extremely helpful in my understanding in these specialties.
You mentioned that there were many exhibitors, over 350, at the conference. How did they contribute to helping you as a medical professional?
Among the exhibitors there were mostly pharmaceutical companies showcasing their products and of course giving freebies. I saw booths of many different healthcare organizations handing out flyers and brochures explaining directives, thus helping our work. What I enjoyed most in the way the event was organized and allowing attendees to download all the lectures from the AAP website for an entire year.
As for hospitals, you visited some while you were there if I am not mistaken. Tell me more about it. How does a pediatric ward of American hospital work? What differences did you experience between those and their Hungarian counterparts?
I visited William Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak and Troy, Michigan, to gain insight into general practice, private practices, and pediatrics. Beaumont is also a teaching hospital, where the residents and the students can benefit from learning with state-of-the-art equipment. Standards are similar to what we keep at FirstMed, but I was surprised to see that many still kept paper medical records. One big difference is that private hospitals were staffed only with certified doctors and you can choose which one you see. In contrast public hospital had 4-5 residents working alongside 3 doctors.
My visit to the newborn and pediatric unit was very interesting. I was escorted through an approximately 30-bed ward by the chief nurse. I learned that apart from a few private accommodations, children reside in 2-bed rooms where visitations are not restricted so guest may visit as they like. With plenty of doctors, nurses and administrative staff, workflow is more effective resulting in a more relaxed and enthusiastic atmosphere. Another difference between a typical Hungarian hospital and one in the US is that American medical employees work in 12-hour shifts as opposed to 24-hour shifts present in Hungary.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this conference and visit hospitals. I am confident to say that the practices, the knowledge of our doctors at FirstMed comply with the international standard, we offer quality services here.