Ranken Jordan’s commitment to the future of pediatric medicine | By Nick Holekamp, MD

May is graduation season and that always makes me think about one of the best parts of my job: teaching medical students and residents about Ranken Jordan and pediatric complex care.

Over the last 15 years, Ranken Jordan has become a training ground for medical students and residents from the region’s academic centers to learn about pediatric complex care.

Ranken Jordan is not formally a teaching hospital and we do not receive any funding to train students. 

But educating young and aspiring health care professionals is an important piece in our vision of a world where every child with complex medical needs lives their best life.

There's a growing need for more pediatric complex care

You may assume all doctors, especially pediatricians, receive training in pediatric complex care but that’s not always the case.

Children with complex medical conditions make up 1% of the population so it is often seen as a tiny population of patients. It was an even smaller population when I started in medicine 40 years ago.

However, thanks to advancements in technology, there are more and more children living with complex medical conditions. And this 1% of patients accounts for more than one third of pediatric healthcare resource use. As this number continues to grow, there will be more need for doctors in pediatric complex care.

Why Ranken Jordan helps with training

Nick Holekamp, MD, speaks with two Washington University medical students, Mina Farag and Lexis Hughes, during a visit to Ranken Jordan.

To help young doctors learn about pediatric complex care, my team and I have developed relationships with medical schools in our area including the Washington University School of Medicine, the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, the University of Missouri School of Medicine, and the A. T. Still University Osteopathic Medical School.

Most medical students visit us in their third year during early clinical rotations when they learn about specific parts of medicine like pediatrics. 

I give students a tour and sit down with them to explain what pediatric complex care is and why we have our unique “Care Beyond the Bedside” care model. Students also sit in on rounds (when medical professionals at the hospital talk about specific patients and the care involved).

The time with us is often the only pediatric complex care training students receive during their entire 4-year course of study.

What I want med students and residents to know

With any med student or resident, I like to impress upon them the importance of treating the whole child, and the whole family, and thinking from the patient’s perspective.

Just as any parent would not accept an extended period of time when their child sits in bed all day, children in the hospital shouldn’t have to either. 

That’s what I want medical students and residents to take away from Ranken Jordan–doctors often need to go beyond what the medical textbooks say and think about the whole child. 

For children, play is a powerful tool for healing that often gets overlooked in conventional hospital settings and I want young doctors to take this with them wherever they choose to practice.

Interested in pediatric complex care?

I’m always interested in hearing from medical students and residents who are curious to learn more about pediatric complex care. If you’re a student, call us at Ranken Jordan at (314) 872-6400.

We also offer training opportunities for nurses, physical therapists, and other roles so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in a different field.

My personal goal is to encourage the larger pediatric healthcare community to invest in more research and resources dedicated to whole-child wellness in the hospital setting and beyond. 

If future doctors are inspired by this vision, we could positively impact the lives of children across the country and the world.

If you’re interested in supporting Ranken Jordan in our mission in other ways, you can learn more about our giving and volunteer opportunities.

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