MD Program

Pediatric History-Taking and Exam FAQ

  1. What is the benefit of volunteering for one of these sessions?

    If you and your 5-12 year old child participate, you will be making a very valuable contribution to the education of our future physicians.

  2. Who will be in the room for the History and Physical Exam?

    There will be a pediatrician or family physician teaching the session and 4-5 second year medical students in attendance.

  3. Will I get to stay with my child?

    Yes. You will be required to remain with your child during the entire volunteer session.

  4. How long will the session be?

    Sessions are booked for 1 hour. 

  5. Are there sessions available any day of the week?

    No. The sessions are scheduled at specific days and times.

  6. What does a “history” mean?

    Through a series of questions, the medical students will ask the parent to describe the child's medical background or story from pregnancy through to present day. It will include questions regarding physical development, diet, accomplishments, immunization, health related issues, etc. It will be similar to the annual checkup you attend with your child’s regular physician. The history will be brief as the focus of the session will be the physical examination.

  7. What will occur during the physical exam?

    With the parent present, the students will be taught and practice how to examine your child’s head, neck, chest, abdomen and limbs by listening through a stethoscope and palpating with their hands. The students will also look in your child’s ears, eyes and mouth, take a blood pressure and examine their joints. The exam will be performed with your child clothed and all considerations will be made to keep your child comfortable. We ask that you child wear loose comfortable clothes that can be easily worked around when listening to the chest or examining a tummy.  The child’s genitals will not be examined.

  8. Will any part of the exam cause my child pain?

    No. It is a gentle exam and will not cause your child pain. If your child has any areas of tenderness, please advise the physician teaching the session at the beginning of the session and these areas will be gently dealt with or avoided.

  9. Will the students or physician examine my child’s genitals?

    No. This is not part of the exam.

  10. Will every student examine my child?

    The students may take turns examining the child.

  11. What if my child is not comfortable being examined?

    If you know your child will not be comfortable being examined, please be considerate of them and do not sign up for these sessions.

    The teachers and students will adapt and do their best to make your child feel as comfortable as possible during the examination. If your child refuses to be examined at points during the exam, the physician will attempt to gently redirect your child so that they become agreeable to the exam. Should the redirection fail, the physician will respect the wishes of your child and move on to other areas of the exam. 

  12. Will my child be expected to wear a hospital gown or expected to undress?

    No, not if your child wears a loose fitting top and brings some shorts to change into. This will make it possible to work around the clothes when listening to the chest, examining a tummy or looking at joints and limbs.

  13. What if I cannot get a babysitter for my other children?

    You can bring other children with you to the room but they will not be examined. Please keep in mind the examination room is fairly small. We do not have toys available, please such bring items if your other children require them.  Should you be bringing more than 2 children with you, please let us know in advance so we can book a bigger room.

  14. Do you provide public transport or parking and if so where can I park?

    Yes. We will mail you a family bus pass or a parking pass which can be used in University of Alberta parking lots – not the hospital lots. There are parking lot located a few blocks from the building where the sessions are held and you will be provided with instructions on how to get here. During your registration you must specify your preference for transport or parking.

  15. Where are the sessions held?

    The sessions are held on the 3rd floor of the Zeidler Ledcor Building, in an area called the Clinical Training Centre. The Zeidler Ledcor Building is adjacent to the University of Alberta Hospital.

  16. Can I get prescriptions or medical advice for my child at these sessions?

    No. The sessions are intended to be an opportunity for the medical student to learn the basics of taking a medical history and completing a physical exam with a child and parent. Medical students cannot write prescriptions and are not expected to give medical advice.

  17. What if the physician or students find something abnormal with my child?

    If the physician or students find an issue with your child, the physician will direct you to follow it up with an appropriate medical professional such as your own pediatrician or physician.

For more information contact the curriculum coordinator at 780-492-6234 or via email at