Choosing a specialty in the world of medicine can be a very challenging decision. If you think you may be interested in pediatrics, you’re considering one of the most rewarding specialties in the industry! Pediatricians regularly report a high level of satisfaction in their careers, more than many other positions. Pediatrician schooling is where you begin.
The opportunity to help children on a daily basis, and with some of the most fundamental elements of their well-being, is a career which can provide a lifetime of purpose and satisfaction. Here, we’ll review some of the most important aspects of this career and provide some pediatrician schooling information in order to help you make an informed decision.
What Does a Pediatrician Do?
In the broadest sense, a pediatrician is a children’s’ doctor. They see patients from birth to age eighteen or twenty-one, or the legal age of adulthood. Seeing patients for this long allows a pediatrician to literally watch the child grow from an infant into a young adult. This, in itself, is rewarding. Knowing that you have helped that child grow up in a healthy manner is even more satisfying.
Pediatricians work in every area of healthcare. Some pediatricians adopt a more general practice, seeing children on a regular basis for check-ups. If something turns up during one of those check-ups which warrants the attention of a specialist, the pediatrician will refer the child to the proper specialist.
Regardless of their specialty, a pediatrician’s job is always to care for patients. Depending on the age of the patient, this can present some special issues. In the case of young children, a pediatrician needs to make accurate diagnoses based on a parents’ description of the child’s symptoms. This can be very challenging, but good Pediatrician schooling will prepare you.
Are There Specialties Within the Pediatric Field?
A common worry among medical students with an interest in pediatrics is that they will get stuck in a rather boring profession, taking care of an endless parade of children with very common issues. While some pediatricians love this relatively low-pressure position, others crave more excitement and the ability to treat patients who are in more serious need. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck.
A great number of pediatricians choose to become specialists right from the start, after completing a three-year residency in pediatrics. This specialized training takes, on average, another three years of targeted pediatrician schooling.
For nearly every field of medicine, there is a pediatric sub-category. Pediatric oncology (working with young cancer patients), pediatric cardiology (dealing with heart conditions in children), and pediatric allergy and immunology (studying and treating allergies and immune disorders in children) are just a few possible specialties.
A pediatrician can also choose to specialize in a particular age group. Neo-natal medicine is concentrated on newborn infants, usually through their first month of life. Peri-natal medicine deals with fetuses in utero; taking care of mother and baby during the last trimester of pregnancy and immediately following childbirth. Adolescent medicine is another specialty, one which deals with young adults and has a special focus on sexual health, drug abuse prevention, and other common concerns for adolescents.
Once you have chosen a specialty, you may find that a particular portion of that field interests you more than any other. Perhaps you become a pediatric oncologist and discover that you find the study and treatment of leukemia to be fascinating. Through working closely with patients, attending seminars and other forms of specialized training, you can work your way up to becoming a specialist in the area of childhood leukemia.
Specialized doctors are highly sought-after. After all, the more experience and knowledge a doctor has in one particular area, the more likely they will be to successfully treat patients. Knowledge is power when it comes to medicine.
How Much Pediatrician Schooling Is Required?
As most of us know, medical school involves one of the longest academic commitments and pediatrician schooling is no different. A three-or four-year pre-med program at a university is one of the primary pediatrician education requirements. From there, students must apply and be accepted at an accredited medical school, where they will complete another four years of medical training.
A small number of medical schools offer combined programs, where students work on their undergraduate and graduate studies ate the same time. These programs can cut the time required to become a doctor from the traditional eight years to six years.
After completing school, a doctor must complete a residency. This usually takes between three to eight years, depending on the chosen specialty of the doctor. In pediatrics, this time varies depending on the selected pediatric specialization.
Once this residency is completed, if a student has not yet chosen a specialty but feels they want to become more specialized, another one to three years of study and/or residency are usually necessary.
This is a lot of Pediatrician schooling, there’s no way around it. However, in order to successfully and responsibly deal with the health and well-being of children, a doctor must be as educated and knowledgeable as possible. If the amount of schooling involved is a stumbling block, becoming a pediatrician may not be the best profession for you. You may be happier in another area of medicine.
Pediatricians who want to stay up to date on the latest discoveries and the newest treatments also attend many seminars and conferences. This ongoing Pediatrician schooling education is essential for keeping up on the newest and best ways to treat patients.
The vast majority of pediatricians working today will tell you that the rewards of being a pediatrician far outweigh the lengthy period of Pediatrician schooling required to enter the field.
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