What Does A Pediatrician Do?
Pediatricians are physicians who specialize in caring for and treating children and young adults from birth to 21 years old. They are medical doctors who have finished medical school and have undergone a residency program in pediatrics for three years. They are trained to diagnose physical, emotional and behavioral issues in their patients and prescribe treatment for these conditions.
Pediatricians typically perform routine health checkups for children at different ages in their lives. They check the child’s weight, height and development at birth and at various ages thereafter. They also administer immunizations to protect children from various diseases. In these visits, they ask parents about what they notice about their child’s growth, behavior and development.
They address parents concerns about their child and undertake further observation and order tests if they want to be certain about their diagnosis. They also educate persons on such concerns as introducing solid foods to their child, potty training and establishing routine sleeping hours, among others.
Aside from conducting routine health checkups, pediatricians also see patients for infections of the ear, mouth, chest and stomach and injuries suffered from falls and accidents. They also diagnose if children have genetic defects or suffering from childhood cancers and other serious ailments. Aside from physical diseases, pediatricians can also detect if children have behavioral issues, anxiety disorders or depression and developmental delays, among others, and prescribe methods of treatment for these. If they realize that the illness or condition presented by the child is beyond their scope of expertise, they refer the parents and their children to a specialist who is better trained to prescribe treatment.
Pediatricians usually begin their day by seeing patients who are admitted in the hospital. During these rounds, they may see newborns at the nursery or at the neonatal intensive care unit. Once they have seen all their patients in the hospital, they then go to their clinic where they see an average of about 20 clients a day.
These consultations can involve diagnosing and prescribing medicine for various infections, administering vaccinations and educating parents and children about their kids’ health. The day continues until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Just like other healthcare professionals, pediatricians are expected to respond to emergency calls of their patients any time of the day or night.
When a pediatrician is not seeing patients, he will be fulfilling administrative tasks. If he runs his own clinic, he will have to make sure that his supplies are complete and order those that need to be restocked. He will also make sure that the necessary permits are in order and that his taxes are paid promptly and correctly. If he needs to hire new personnel, he will also be training them.
Treating and caring for young children is a very fulfilling profession and this is one reason why many choose this career. The long and irregular hours as well as the loss of a young patient to death at certain times also make this a very stressful occupation.