What Is A Pediatrician

What Is A Pediatrician

We’re all somewhat familiar with what pediatricians do. Pediatricians treat children, ranging in age from birth to late teens, and occasionally young adults in their early twenties. However, a great deal of pediatric medicine is not so widely known. Here we’ll answer the question of “What is a pediatrician” in several different ways.

General Knowledge and Practice

What is a pediatrician?  A medical doctor who has chosen to devote his or her career to the care of children and young adults. This discipline of medicine has many challenges and rewards which are totally unique to pediatrics. Children are not simply small adults – they present specific challenges which are not found in adult medicine. This is due to their smaller size, bodies which are still growing and changing, and significant hormonal changes. Young patients with more serious illnesses are also treated very differently from adults, due to their more fragile bodies.

What Is A Pediatrician

In general practice, a pediatrician sees patients for regular wellness visits. These visits include routine tests such as blood work, the checking of vital signs, and other clues as to the patient’s health. During these visits, a pediatrician will also ask the patient (and their parents, if appropriate) about any special concerns they may have.

A pediatrician also sees patients who are exhibiting symptoms of illness. If the illness is something relatively common, such as strep throat, the pediatrician will prescribe medication and recommend a period of rest. If the pediatrician suspects that something more serious is going on, they will likely refer the patient to a pediatric specialist. This ensures that the patient receives specialized care which is still geared toward a young, growing body.

Pediatricians in general practice typically work in private offices, but many also work in public clinics and hospitals. Some pediatricians still visit patients in their homes, although this practice is generally reserved for very wealthy clients.

What Is A Pediatrician? A Look at Specialization…

What is a pediatrician? A pediatrician may be a doctor who has chosen to specialize in children with a particular type of illness or group of illnesses. They may also choose to focus their careers on a certain age group, such as teenagers or newborns. In fact, many pediatricians focus their careers very tightly, specializing in, for example, adolescent cancer. The degree of specialization which a pediatrician chooses is a personal choice, and allows the doctor to gain valuable experience which they, in turn, pass on to their patients.

The following are just a few of the many potential pediatric specializations. When asking “what is a pediatrician,” these examples will certainly broaden the potential answers.

  • Pediatric Anesthesia –  Pediatricians who specialize in anesthesia administer the medications which either induce an unconscious state, numb a certain area, or simply relax a patient before a procedure or a surgery. Pediatric anesthesia is a very delicate field, since smaller patients require far lower doses of most anesthetics and can respond quite differently than adult patients.
  • Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery – Cardiovascular medicine has to do with diseases and conditions of the heart, and the treatment of those conditions. This may or may not include surgery. A pediatrician involved in cardiology is specially trained and educated in the specific needs of a growing heart, which are quite different than adult hearts. In addition, many congenital heart defects exist in children which are rarely, if ever, seen in adults. A large part of a pediatric cardiologist’s job is helping children with these defects overcome them and reach adulthood.
  • Chemical Abuse – Some pediatricians choose to devote their careers to helping identify and address the issues of alcohol and drug abuse in children and young adults. This specialization requires a very thorough knowledge of several different factors. Spotting drug abuse in a young person can be quite difficult, and treating it properly and effectively can pose an even bigger challenge. A pediatrician specializing in this field must be truly dedicated to their patients, as they will likely face some very difficult cases.
  • Child Abuse – Certain pediatricians with a particular concern for the welfare of children may choose to specialize in childhood abuse. Whether this abuse is physical, sexual or emotional, the pediatrician must be highly skilled in not only spotting the signs, but in treating the damage. Certain conditions are almost always caused by physical abuse, such as the brain trauma experienced by very young children who are violently shaken. A pediatrician who is highly skilled in treating these conditions can be invaluable in saving the life of an abused child.
  • Adolescent Medicine – Teenagers present an entirely different set of medical concerns than younger children, and pediatricians who specialize in teens must be aware of these concerns. Some common issues presented to adolescent pediatricians include sexual activity, drug and alcohol use, hormonal changes and behavioral issues. In addition, a teenager’s body in and of itself is a challenge, since it has responses which are still childlike, and responses which are more like an adult’s body. A good adolescent pediatrician knows how to deal with this turbulent time in a young person’s life, and how to properly treat the issues that come along.


As you can see, the question of “what is a pediatrician” can be answered very simply, although the field itself is actually filled with specializations and delicately skilled work. Regardless of their specialty, a pediatrician is usually a medical professional with a strong compassion for children and young adults.

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