University of Pittsburgh


Combined Clinical Years

Pediatric Inpatient Medicine Clerkship (PIMC)

4 weeks

Clerkship Director
Michael J. Decker, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics

Clerkship Co-Director
John Szymusiak, MD, MS
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine

Course Description

This 4-week clerkship exposes students to inpatient pediatrics. Students are assigned to a pediatric inpatient team (3 weeks) and a pediatric sub-specialty team (1 week). In addition, they participate in all aspects of patient care and management, including performing histories and physical examinations; writing progress notes; and communicating with other members of the medical team, attending physicians, referring physicians, consultants, families, and patients.

Students read the current literature and standard pediatric textbooks in order to understand childhood growth and development, and major pediatric disease processes and therapies. In addition, students attend conferences, lectures, and rounds that are held throughout the

During the inpatient rotation, students work as part of the floor medical team. Each student presents a patient they have cared for to the group as a case conference and develops and answers an evidence based medicine question based on the patient.

The objectives of the course are that the student will:

1. increase his/her knowledge base in pediatrics; specifically he/she will become familiar with anticipatory guidance, nutrition and common pediatric health problems.

2. develop an understanding of the growth and development unique to children, with particular attention paid to the attainment of developmental milestones as well as the effect of illness on the child’s growth and development.

3. develop an understanding of the importance of psycho-social factors, their influence on a child’s growth and development and various somatic complaints.

4. learn how to interview effectively the patients and their families and be able to adapt the interview to the particular age group and developmental level of the patient.

5. be able to obtain and organize a complete and relevant history.

6. develop basic skills in pediatric physical examination and will attain facility with the evaluation of infants, children, and adolescents.

7. enhance his/her problem-solving and critical-thinking skills and be able to develop a reasonable differential diagnosis, an appropriate assessment, and a coherent plan, using evidence whenever possible.

8. develop skills in both oral and written presentations and be able to present information in a succinct, organized manner.

9. develop an understanding of the therapeutic role of the patient-family-physician relationship.

10. explore ethical issues as they relate to the patient-family-physician relationship.

11. understand the roles of the pediatrician caring for hospitalized children.

12. demonstrate professional attitudes and behavior.

The clerkship takes place at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Educational Methods


Inpatient patient care activities Aquifer Pediatric Cases Workshops Lectures
Structured readings Learning logs Conferences    



Evaluation of the clerkship is based quality of clinical work as determined by faculty and residents as well as professionalism (70%), an NBME subject exam (20%), and a case conference presentation (10%).

Grading: The clerkship is graded Honors, High Satisfactory, Satisfactory, Low Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory.  

Faculty Note

Clerkship Director Michael J. Decker, MD, is a recipient of multiple Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Awards. Clerkship Co-Director John Szymusiak MD, MS has recieved the Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Award as well as awards for the teaching of residents.