Career of Pediatrician - pediatric career facts
Why pick a career as a pediatrician
Pediatricians are qualified doctors who have undertaken postgraduate training to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and care of children. A pediatrician's career is challenging, stimulating and rewarding. It concerns the health and treatment of children from birth to adolescence, focusing not just on physical health, but also the emotional and social aspects.
It might, for instance, involve the treatment of a child with cancer, or coordinating various support services for a disabled child. In all instances, it focuses on the entire family, the ultimate aim being to allow the child to lead as normal a life as possible. Areas of care range from preventative healthcare to diagnosis and treatment of chronic and acute diseases. Their role also involves prescribing medication and counseling children's families.
Pediatric careers can be general or specialist. General pediatricians treat most children hospitalized with acute illness. They may also care for children with special needs, such as learning difficulties. Outside hospitals, they may work in local clinics or schools. Specialist pediatricians focus on as many different clinical areas as can exist in adult medicine. They are frequently involved in research projects and providing guidelines for preventative health education.
Day-to-day activities within pediatric careers
Pediatricians meet patients and parents to gather information and conduct examinations to identify health problems. They also order tests to aid diagnosis, analyze data and undertake consultation with other physicians.
Once diagnoses are made, the pediatrician discusses treatment with patients and families, makes recommendations, and refers to other specialists as required. They perform medical procedures, including surgery. Post treatment, they monitor the patients' health and progress. Discussion with the patient's family involves advising on measures such as diet and exercise, and updating the family about the patient's condition.
Administration and management activities include keeping detailed records on patients' health, assigning tasks to nurses and other workers, writing chart notes and completing paperwork. They also assign tasks to nurses and other healthcare workers.
Outside the consulting room or hospital, pediatricians contribute to or administer hospital or community health schemes; contribute to or research articles for medical journals; teach in medical school; and undertake professional development classes to update their skills.
Would a pediatricians career suit you?
Pediatricians must really like working with children and their families. Excellent communication skills are a prerequisite, as is the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Listening skills are also vital, as is the willingness to learn from patients. Having compassion, resilience and a sense of humour is important. Open-mindedness as to what constitutes a family is critical. The rewards are that the work is compassionate and caring - and frequently fun.
During training, work is usually more than 40 hours per week and can be intense and tiring. It may involve being on-call and able to work at short notice to handle emergencies.
What are the career prospects of a pediatrician?
Upon achieving specialist consultant status, the rewards in terms of ability to choose hours and financial remuneration are considerable. The scope for running your own office, while undertaking additional research and qualifying for special awards, means that the opportunity exists to boost salaries considerably. Control over your own hours means that pediatrics remains compatible with raising a family, due to its inherent flexibility.
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