Fotka našej pediatričky doki Katky

Katka Legrand

How I became a pediatrician

It all started at the French bilingual high school I attended. Being in daily contact with two different educational approaches (French and Slovak) gave me a strong basis for further studies and life in general.

When deciding about my university studies, I couldn’t have picked a better faculty than the faculty of medicine. It is thanks to this faculty that I got to know many inspirational and admirable people (both students and professors). It also created rich opportunities for future employment.

After my graduation in 2010, I started working in a little Slovak town called Skalica as a secondary doctor at the children´s department. This was a perfect school of general pediatrics for me which I couldn’t have received in any other children´s department in Bratislava. 

Later, at the end of 2011, I traveled to Burundi to work as a doctor for 4 months. I worked in a pretty big health center run by Polish nuns, where I treated all patients being admitted into the hospital part of the center. To me, it was like a university of physical examination and diagnosis at the lack of any modern examination methods and I would recommend this experience to any young doctor. It was in Burundi where I trained my ears and eyes to notice all the possible details on a patient. Other than that, it also made me very knowledgeable about the „third world of Africa“. To live in Africa is something very different to what one reads about or watches on the television. 

Afterwards I continued with my professional growth in the field of pediatrics at different children´s departments of NÚDCH (National Institute of Children´s diseases) and some departments of hospital in Skalica too.

In January 2014 I went on another medical mission trip, this time to India´s state called Karnataka. I worked there for 3 months, learned a lot about chronic pain, Indian food and Hinduism. The number of patients wasn’t comparable to the one in Africa and I also had fewer pediatric patients there but it was an intense experience that taught me a life lesson. After all, India was more about personal rather than medical development.

After that I continued to shape my pediatric profession at children´s department of Skalica´s hospital and in pediatric outpatient office in Skalica and Šaštín too.

For the first 3 months of 2015 I took over an internship at the Neonatology department of Beclaire´s hospital in Paris where I was able to experience a quite different medical system to the one I had known in our country. Even though I was not allowed to do anything with the pediatric patients (due to a different insurance system in France), working at one of the two best neonatology departments in Paris was a fantastic experience. I had learned a lot about the way they work as well as about their educational system, which I am very grateful for.

For the last 6 months of my medical specialization I was working at the second children´s clinic (nowadays just children´s clinic of NÚDCH) of NÚDCH and I can say that I loved working there. Even though my workdays were much longer than those in Skalica and the management of the clinic was demanding, I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and experience and got to know many inspirational doctors. It was definitely worth it.

From October 2015 until October 2016 I was working at an outpatient office in Skalica and Šaštín. It was during that year I came to realize the obstacles and problems when working at an outpatient office as well as the beauty of knowing your patients from newborn stage up until adolescence. It was then when I started contemplating about what could be done better .

That is why when I stopped working because of my pregnancy, I prepared my first presentation for mothers and got in touch with all the kindergartens in Bratislava to propose them some kind of free education for mothers. There were just two private kindergartens that were interested in this kind of collaboration, unfortunately

I did not give up though. When my first daughter was about 11 months old, I made my first presentation in one of the maternity centers (volunteer center for mums organized and run by volunteering mums) which was followed by three more presentations later on. At the same time I was also offering pediatric consultations at the same maternity center.

Last but not least being a mother to two daughters has shaped my pediatric expertise in the most significant way and made me understand other mothers much better.