Providing care from birth to early adulthood, pediatricians are concerned with the health of infants, children, and teenagers. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of ailments specific to young people and track their patients’ growth to adulthood. Like most physicians, pediatricians work with different health care workers, such as nurses and other physicians, to assess and treat children with various ailments, such as muscular dystrophy. Most of the work of pediatricians, however, involves treating day-to-day illnesses that are common to children—minor injuries, infectious diseases, and immunizations—much as a general practitioner treats adults. Some pediatricians specialize in serious medical conditions and pediatric surgery, treating autoimmune disorders or serious chronic ailments.
There are two types of physicians: M.D.—Doctor of Medicine—and D.O.—Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. M.D.s also are known as allopathic physicians. While both M.D.s and D.O.s may use all accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, D.O.s place special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care. D.O.s are more likely than M.D.s to be primary care specialists although they can be found in all specialties. About half of D.O.s practice general or family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics.
Working conditions are usually pleasant with the work environment being indoors in well lighted exam rooms and hospitals. Hours of work frequently exceed 60 hours a week in the busier practices. This typically can result in being awakened at all hours of the night and/or being asked to come in at irregular times to evaluate a patient.
Training and Qualifications - to be an Pediatrician
Formal education and training requirements for physicians are among the most demanding of any occupation—4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency, depending on the specialty selected. A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 rather than the customary 8 years.
Premedical students must complete undergraduate work in physics, biology, mathematics, English, and inorganic and organic chemistry. Students also take courses in the humanities and the social sciences. Some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain practical experience in the health professions.
Business ability, self-discipline, and the ability to deal tactfully with patients are important for success.
Licensing and Credentialing
In all 50 states and the U.S. Territories Physicians are regulated. The usual method to be a credentialed and licensed Pediatric Physician is:
1) Possess the amount of training and/or a degree from an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy
2)Complete an internship as a pediatric intern/resident.
3) Pass a national exam
4) Apply for licensure in the state you wish to practice in.
Many physicians and surgeons work long, irregular hours; over one-third of full-time physicians worked 60 or more hours a week in 2004.
Formal education and training requirements are among the most demanding of any occupation, but earnings are among the highest.
Job opportunities should be very good, particularly in rural and low-income areas.
New physicians are much less likely to enter solo practice and more likely to work as salaried employees of group medical practices, clinics, hospitals, or health networks.
Advancement - chances for promotion
The outlook for physicians is projected to be very good. Significant shortages exist in rural and underserved areas. The trend towards group practices will provide opportunities for more doctors to hold positions of leadership and authority. This still remains one of the best paying professions in the healthcare industry