I think pediatrics can be a daunting rotation for some! Kids are unique, it’s not like treating adult diseases in little bodies. Plus there’s the fact that doing a physical exam on a kiddo takes a special kind of person because you have to really work at convincing a child to hold still. And I think that can be very challenging for a lot of people, especially if you haven’t been around children that much.
However, I definitely think its very doable to excel on your pediatric rotation! There are a ton of great resources out there for you to use, and I wanted to share some of my favorites.
I did do something new for this rotation, and that was creating a differential diagnosis chart! I still used my classic chart, but I found these Ddx Charts really helpful for actually seeing patients – which in all honesty is the real test in medicine. My preceptor wanted me to have five differential diagnoses for every patient I saw, so making this chart was seriously helpful. I also think it did a lot for my confidence level as I was seeing kiddos – especially since I was a little unsure going into this rotation.
These are the main resources I used for my classic EOR charts.
- Step Up to Pediatrics
- Pros: This is the exact same style as the Step up to Medicine book. It’s outline based and its very easy to read. I felt like it did a good job covering almost all of the topics on the blueprint for the EOR, and I really felt confident that I knew what I needed to for the exam. I also seriously loved the “quick hits” on the side – these actually ended up being quite a few questions on the exam.
- Cons: There’s definitely some stuff that is extraneous for PA EOR exam, but I thought it was helpful information to know.
- What I used it for: This was my go to resource! I read this book cover to cover. I used this both as a reading review and to fill out my Pediatric EOR chart + the Ddx chart.
- Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics
- Pros: Nelson Pediatrics is a huge resource in this field. This is actually a resource that my professor really suggested that I use for this exam. She thought it was a lot more applicable than Step Up, and a lot more thorough in what it covered. The table of contents is fantastically detailed, so you know exactly where to find a topic in the book.
- Cons: This resource isn’t in outline formate, so I actually thought that it got a little “heavy” to read at times. And I will say it goes into a lot more detail than you could ever need for an EOR rotation.
- What I used it for: I mainly ended up using this for topics that I was still confused on and would get wrong on practice questions. It also has a great “Pearls for Practitioners” section that I read through pretty early in my rotation.
- Harriet Lane Handbook
- Pros: I talked about this book in my What’s in my Pocket: Pediatrics Post and I cannot reiterate how helpful this book was! My preceptor had one at clinic for me to use, and I got one for at home as well.
- Cons: The font in the book is tiny, so it was a pain to read at times.
- What I used it for: I used this a lot, both at clinic and at home. It was great for the stuff that was really important (pneumonia, asthma, otitis media, otitis externa, etc) and also for the stuff that was less common.
- I also reviewed both the PANCE Prep Pearls and “Green Book” Pediatric chapters – I didn’t really use them to fill out my chart, but they were both good quick hit chapters to read as they focused on medical problems that could only be in the pediatric population. I read over them during my last week of my rotation to kind of cement some extra knowledge in my brain.
So now onto my Ddx Charts that I made.
I mainly used one resource for creating this chart (because it really did everything I needed), but when I was reading through my other books I would occasionally fill in some information from them as well
- Nelson Pediatric Symptom-Based Diagnosis
- Pros: The book is set up for exactly what I wanted to use it for – figuring out differential diagnoses. It’s divided up into organ system, and then goes through the most commonly seen complaints for those systems. It has differential diagnoses charts and then breaks down each different diagnosis into what it would present like. That makes its super easy to use and very readable.
- Cons: It’s expensive. I ended up renting it for the rotation because my school’s library did not have a copy. But it was well worth the price!
- What I used it for: My preceptor requiring that for every patient I saw I formulate a differential diagnosis and treatment plan for each Ddx, so this book was extremely helpful in my thought process. Her expectations and this book also helped me create a new study guide that I used for Pediatrics
- Case Files Pediatrics
- Pros: This was also a big resource for me. The book gives you a patient scenario with some questions to ask answer. It then walks you through differential diagnoses and how to establish what the true diagnosis is. I really like the set up and I found the scenario and questions really helpful for when I actually see patients.
- Cons: Can be a little outdated, especially if you pick up an older copy!
- What I used it for: I read this book throughout the rotation, and I honestly wish I would have read it cover to cover BEFORE I went on rotation. It definitely helped me with the process of formulating differential diagnoses in my head.
Test banks were a little more challenging for Pediatrics than the other rotations.
- PA Easy
- Pros: This was a test bank provided by my school so it was free. It allows you to filter questions by area, so I was able to click “Pediatrics” and have 247 questions to practice from
- Cons: Personally, I felt like PA Easy run true to its name and the questions were too easy. I also was not a fan of the explanations for the questions. I felt like they were very skimpy.
- What I used it for: I used 100 questions as my initial pre-test at the start of my rotation to see where I was at with what I knew. I ended up doing all 247 questions in the bank because why not. I do feel as though it helped some, but definitely not as helpful as other banks out there.
- Rosh Review
- Pros: Rosh Review has a specific “pediatric EOR boost exam” that you can purchase. I felt like it was very similar in difficulty to the actual EOR exam. The explanations are AMAZING
- Cons: You have to purchase the boost exam for extra.
- What I used it for: I used this as my practice test 1.5 weeks away from my actual test date. It gave me a great idea of where I was standing, and helped me know what I needed to continue studying
- Pros: Very cheap test bank at only $65 for the year. There are a lot of questions available, and the EOR exams are included in the base subscription.
- Cons: Not the best test bank. There are a lot of errors in the questions, and it seems as though a lot of the questions are very similar to Rosh Review or the questions on the actual EOR exam (like VERY similar). Questions also repeat in all of the different “Tests” so there are less unique questions than advertised.
- What I used it for: I used the EOR practice exams as a night before test bank. I also used this as a main source of just doing questions throughout the rotation.
- Pediatric PreTest.
- Pros: This question bank is in a book, so its portable. Pediatric PreTest did a much better job of giving me scenarios to work through and I thought the scenarios were pretty accurate with the EOR questions.
- Cons: Some of the medicine is a little outdated since it is in a book format.
- What I used it for: I was able to bring it to the clinic with me so I could do practice problems on the go.
Now, those were all of the resources that I used (plus my Pocket Resources which you can read about HERE).
But I wanted to run through some other resources out there that you could consider using!
While I didn’t personally use them, I’ve heard lots of good things about them. And I thought it would be very helpful for all y’all to have an almost complete list of resources you might use. Please reach out to me if you have any extra resources I should share on this list!
- Zitelli and Davis’ Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis
- Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology
- Bright Futures: Guidelines Pocket Guide
- Blueprints Pediatrics
- Pediatric & Neonatal Dosage Handbook
- First Aid for the Pediatrics Clerkship
- Pocket Pediatrics
- Pediatric Dermatology DDX Deck
- Pediatrics (Pocket)
- MDpocket Pediatric Edition
- USMLE STEP 2 CK Pediatrics In Your Pocket
- Tarascon Pediatric Outpatient
- Pediatric Secrets
- Kaplan High Yield – I actually did use these videos and found them to be extremely helpful!
I would love to hear your methods for preparing for the Pediatrics EOR! Please let me know if you find a great resource so I can update my list!
Comment below on your thoughts, and as always, feel free to follow along on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to get a better glimpse into the daily life of a PA student trying to survive with a stethoscope and some sparkle.