What Do Pediatricians Do?
When asking what do pediatricians do, it’s essential to take a look at their patients. Essentially, a pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of children from birth to eighteen years of age, although this is extended to twenty-one years in many areas. A child often sees the same pediatrician from the time they are a small child until they are in college.
When asking what do pediatricians do, it also helps to look at their schooling. In addition to the traditional four years of schooling to become an MD, a pediatrician must complete a three year residency in some type of pediatric field. After completing their residency, they can become board-certified as pediatricians. After this, many pediatricians choose to further their specialization and focus on a particular group of disorders, a certain age range or even one individual disease, such as cancer.
Pediatricians most commonly work in either a hospital or a traditional doctor’s office. Many others work in clinics which offer low-cost medical attention to children whose parents can’t afford health insurance. Clinics are also common in rural areas, where residents don’t have the benefit of a large hospital system nearby with many different types of doctors readily available.
The question of what do pediatricians do is largely dependent on where they work. A pediatrician working in a general practice will see a wide variety of issues in a single day. They will perform well-child checkups to ensure that their patients are growing up healthy and strong, as well as to check for signs of any potential issues. They will direct their nurses to deliver the appropriate vaccinations, if a child is due and the parent has chosen to vaccinate.
Pediatricians may treat a variety of minor illnesses such as the flu, colds, chicken pox, strep throat or pinkeye. They’ll also tend to minor injuries such as sprains, strains and cuts. A pediatrician will regularly run into conditions which require more immediate or specialized treatment, such as hospitalization for an acute illness or a broken bone. The pediatrician will also make the rounds of local hospitals, checking in on any of their patients who have been admitted.
In a hospital, a pediatrician will see children and adolescents who are acutely or chronically ill or injured. They may work in the emergency room, or they might work in any department or specialization.
In an inner-city or rural clinic, a pediatrician sees an extremely broad range of conditions, simply because large hospitals are far away or prohibitively expensive. These pediatricians treat everything from colds to head injuries, and will refer patients to a larger hospital if more specialized care or advanced medical equipment is required.
Specializations – What Do Pediatricians Do?
A pediatrician can choose to specialize in literally any field of medicine.
Sleep medicine focuses on disorders which interrupt or prevent healthy sleep, such as night terrors, sleep apnea or insomnia.
Sports medicine focuses on the injuries sustained while moving, such as strains, fractures and sprains. Nutrition and overall physical development are also monitored.
Pediatric nutrition focuses on healthy eating, and may include work with children suffering from eating disorders or food allergies.
Pediatric hematology-oncology deals with childhood cancer. Pediatric oncologists often specialize in a particular type of cancer, such as leukemia.
Pediatric cardiology deals with heart and blood vessel disorders and conditions. As with oncology, a pediatric cardiologist often chooses to specialize in a particular cardiovascular disorder.
This is a very short list of potential pediatric specializations. The question of what do pediatricians do can be answered by what they choose to specialize in. There are officially recognized specializations, such as hematology-oncology, which require certification. There are also unofficial fields which don’t yet have an official certification but are nonetheless highly focused and specialized.
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