A pediatrician is a doctor engaged in the care of children. It provides both medical care and preventive health maintenance to children patients. Pediatricians treat babies from birth to age twenty one years. The work of a pediatrician aims to reduce the mortality rate among infants and children, foster healthy lifestyle and control infectious diseases. Aside from diagnosis and treatment of genetic defects, injuries, infections and organic diseases affecting children and young adults, pediatricians also work for the early detection, prevention and management of disorders in behavior, development and bodily functions.
What is a Pediatrician?
The field of pediatrics is considered to be a collaborative specialty because it requires pediatricians to work with other medical professionals to ensure the physical and emotional well being of children.
When a patient appears to be suffering from symptoms of a more serious health problem, the pediatrician will refer the patient to a specialist to efficiently address the problem. A pediatrician is also in charge of the growth and development of the child, monitoring his body systems as well as administering vaccinations.
The job of a pediatrician requires you to deal not only with the patient but also the parents or guardians. Patience, good communication skills and expertise in pediatrics are the qualifications a pediatrician should possess.
The salary of a pediatrician usually depends on a number of factors like place of employment, specialization, and years of experience. Generally, pediatricians earn over $100,000 annually. More experienced pediatricians earn more compared to inexperienced ones. Those who have specializations such as neonatology or pediatric cardiology also have higher salaries.
How to Become a Pediatrician
Becoming a pediatrician requires eleven to twelve years of studying after graduating from high school. A person desiring a career in pediatrics must enroll in a four year pre medicine undergraduate program from any reputable college or university. After graduating, another four years is spent for medical school.
An applicant is required to pass the Medical College Admission Test before he can be accepted in medical school. The four year education on Doctor of Osteopathy or Doctor of Medicine program focuses on the various healthcare and medical practices. The program includes courses in medical ethics, psychology, pharmacology, anatomy and pathology.
Another three years is required for an internship/residency program in pediatrics. Residency programs allow the student to experience hands on training under the guidance of licensed pediatricians. Additional years of residency are required in cases of specialized fields in pediatrics such as pediatric surgery. Before one can practice his profession, he needs to pass a medical licensure examination. After passing the examination, he can now apply for a medical license in the state he intends to practice.
There are many career opportunities in the field of pediatrics. Aside from those engaged in primary care of the needs of children, there are also those who specialize in other fields of pediatrics such as cardiology, adolescent medicine, emergency medicine, critical care medicine, endocrinology, neonatal or perinatal medicine, pulmonology and oncology among others. Pediatricians can work in public or private hospitals or maintain their own private practice. Others work in health maintenance organizations or in medical schools as lecturers or professors.
If you love children and want to pursue a career in pediatrics, then you need to prepare not only for the long years of education and training it requires but also for the long work hours the job demands. A typical pediatrician works for fifty four hours in a week and sees an average of ninety five patients. It requires you to be on call in case of emergencies involving your patients. If working in a hospital, aside from direct patient care, you might also be required to see patients admitted in the hospital as well as perform administrative work, giving medical advice over the telephone, doing paperwork and teaching new medical interns in the hospital.
Becoming a pediatrician or doctor for that matter entails a lot of hard work and responsibility. Although many people want to pursue a medical profession, it is a type of job not meant for every body. To succeed as a pediatrician, you need to study hard. Your scholastic record is one of the primary considerations of medical schools in accepting applicants. Furthermore, do not just settle for pediatrics alone. Expand your knowledge and expertise. Complete fellowship trainings on the various specialized fields on pediatrics as well as additional certificates on sports medicine, medical toxicology, neurodevelopmental disabilities and pediatric transplant hepatology.