• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
on continued learning. . .

on continued learning. . .

A couple weeks ago, I went to a weeklong conference on Neonatal and Pediatric Ventilation. Since coming to Kijabe, PICU medicine has been an ongoing place of constant reading and daily up-skilling, but I have never taken an extended period of time just to focus on consolidating in one area. I took pages and pages and pages of notes, sent texts back to my team in Kijabe with what I was learning in real time -attended simulation workshops and sat in the room with some of the leading experts in the world on emerging data and techniques. It was amazing (and at times a little overwhelming).

When I returned to clinical work in Kijabe, my third day, we had a child with terrible terrible pneumonia with lung collapse, and I pulled out my notes, looking at the 2022 studies and the latest data on how to adjust the vent. I pulled over our senior fellow and COs to talk about it and teach, and then I adjusted the ventilator . . . in the next 30min to an hour, I watched the theory work in real life – the lungs opened up, the needed pressures and oxygenation improved – the blood pressures held and the child started to slowly, but surely turn around.

We learn so much in medical school and residency and fellowship, but the training never really stops. David chuckled at me as I told the story over dinner last night – at my excitement, and my amazement, and my gratitude for new knowledge to care for the patient in front of me.

I am grateful for everyone who makes it possible for me to continue to grow in this work and to learn, for the baby in PICU who is almost ready to extubate, and for the privilege to do this work every day.