Nicole Letendre ’23
Pathway to Peds is a program within Alpert Medical School, of Brown University, which strives to promote diversity within the medical field, with a particular focus in pediatrics. On Thursday, February 11th, Pathway to Peds hosted a virtual panel of pediatric physicians, who discussed both the challenges and rewards of working in pediatric medicine. Dr. Cross, M.D. and Dr. Poitevien, M.D. both work in hospitalist pediatrics, and attribute their successful careers to their life-long passion to take care of children, the hospitalist team-approach, and the ability to grow from mistakes.
As one of seven children, Dr. Cross always had numerous babysitting jobs and ample opportunities to care for others. She began her career as a Registered Nurse (RN), and feels that her experience in the nursing field was a worthwhile foundation for her career as a pediatric physician. In her own words: “I feel that I was a born pediatrician.” As a physician, Dr. Cross believes that life-long learning is critical, and she prioritizes self-care, prayer and keeps faith central to her life.
In a similar way, Dr. Poitevien felt pulled to her profession as a pediatrician from an early age. She recalled that, “I announced that I wanted to be a pediatrician when I was seven years of age.” Years later, in medical school, she decided to give each clinical rotation a fair chance. She discovered that she really enjoyed Internal Medicine, labor and deliveries, and even surgery, but when it came time for pediatric rotations, as expected, she felt right at home. Dr. Poitevien revealed, “It felt right, caring for children was something I always wanted to do,” and she felt an affinity for “this shared sense of ‘we are all here to support a child.”
As a pediatric physician, work days can be long and stressful, reviewing admissions, making plans with resident physicians, doing rounds, and constantly re-evaluating strategies. Dr. Cross manages stress in the workplace by focusing her attention on the children, and utilizing the team-approach to care. Dr. Poitevien recognizes that humility is a vital component of her profession, or as she puts it, “that ability to constantly ask other individuals what they think.” She balances listening to patients and their families, with her own medical knowledge. All in all, both doctors offered words of wisdom to anyone considering work in the medical field, and spoke to both the daily obstacles and successes of their profession. At the conclusion of the discussion panel, Dr. Cross offered a remarkable view of learning from your mistakes: “It can break you or it can change your practice and make you a better doctor.”