Advancing Children's Health

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Clinical experience leads to career decision (and a pie in the face!)

Published by , on Dec 31, 2014

klaiberby Nicholas Klaiber, MD
Pediatric resident


The amazing array of patients I encountered, in combination with the sagacious but never ostentatious tutelage of so many experienced senior practitioners, made my intern year at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) immensely enjoyable and instructional. The months passed quickly and before I knew it, my second year arrived bringing a new set of clinical challenges, responsibilities and career decisions to be made. Chief among these, for me, was the choice of which fellowship I would enter following residency.

I started residency with the firmly entrenched notion that hematology and oncology was the clinical area that would suit me above all others. Close interactions with multiple subspecialties throughout the year made me pause, if only briefly to reconsider. Gastroenterology, nephrology, endocrinology, pulmonology, cardiology, neonatal and pediatric intensive care, infectious diseases, and allergy and immunology, all left me at points feeling I might enjoy a practice in each for many years to come. I wanted to be certain that I had not prematurely made a big decision about my future, and that all possible options were weighed.

Ultimately, input from several key mentors in addition to a great deal of introspection, reaffirmed that hematology and oncology was indeed the most appropriate choice for me. I found that helping patients through the arduous process of long-term chemotherapy was especially gratifying. Added to this, the poignant need for translational research exemplified by the lack of effective therapeutic options available to clinicians and patients dealing with disseminated neoplasms strongly bolstered my decision, as laboratory work is something I have long enjoyed.

The landscape of post-graduate medical education can be complex at times, however, the supportive guidance I have received from CHoR faculty has proved critical in allowing me to successfully navigate this terrain. These mentors – who rise to the challenge of guiding each class on its journey from newly minted physicians to seasoned clinicians – are truly one of the program’s great assets and provide an ample supply of role models to shape ourselves after. Their value cannot be overstated and working with them, along with my fellow residents on a daily basis, makes me truly grateful to be part of the clinical team at CHoR.

Watch pediatric resident, Nicholas Klaiber, MD,  take a pie to the face to help #WhipChildhoodCancer


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