As a Maritimer, Dr Carly Baxter has always wanted to stay close to home for her career. When she was accepted to the Dalhousie Pediatric Residency Program the pieces all seemed to fall into place for studying her passion close to home and at her first choice of program here at the IWK.
“I applied to pediatric positions all across the county, but my dream was to one day be at the IWK,” says Carly Baxter, Pediatric Co-Chief Resident. Originally from Saint John, N.B., Baxter studied biology and psychology as an undergrad in her hometown and remained local as she completed medical school at Dalhousie Medicine’s satellite campus in New Brunswick.
On a typical day, Baxter can be found at the IWK, in Shared Clinics, the Trans-health Clinic, or Spryfield Clinic meeting patients as part of her current rotation in Adolescent Social Pediatrics. After four weeks of this placement, Baxter will be assigned a new area, with new responsibilities and new patients to oversee.
“We’re supervised by a staff pediatrician at all times, but our roles vary as we gain more experience and become more independent in caring for patients,” Baxter explains. “We’re responsible for seeing patients for consultation and follow-up in clinics, as well as inpatients for coordination of their care while in hospital.” All this while taking on the extra responsibilities of supporting the resident group as Co-Chief, which Baxter says is preparing her for the responsibilities that accompany becoming a staff and working with trainees.
While residency exposes learners to many sub-specialties, Baxter was certain from fairly early on that she wanted to practice Pediatric Endocrinology. Endocrinology is the study of the endocrine organs, hormone systems and their target organs. A large patient population that Pediatric Endocrinologists care for are children with diabetes. In Pediatrics, Endocrinologists also care for patients with concerns related to bone health, gender, growth, puberty as well as patients following oncology treatment.
“I love this area of medicine because it’s so pathway based. For example, if you’re trying to find what the problem is then you can look at how that hormonal axis normally functions in the body to help determine the problem. Many hormones can also be replaced, for example in the case of a child with diabetes their body isn’t making enough insulin so we have to provide this to them.”
“I’ve always loved working with kids, even from the time when I was young working at summer camps. When I started medical school, I found that I also really loved working with the patients and their families. In medicine in general we’re involved in peoples most vulnerable moments and in pediatrics it’s extra special because we get to be there to support the family and contribute to their child’s well-being in those particularly stressful moments.”
Baxter is currently applying to a fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology. As the program isn’t offered at the IWK she will need venture elsewhere in Canada to complete her education and training. Once ready, she hopes to return to the IWK and rejoin the Maritime community.