Shadowing a DoctorJuly 11, 2013
A paediatrician is a medical specialist who is responsible for the overall healthcare of children across all ages. Paediatricians care for children on a daily basis, diagnosing and treating their various symptoms through the different stages of growth and development. While being a paediatrician can be demanding and challenging, there’s no denying that it is also one of the most rewarding career choices, as you know you are making a difference to the future of your paediatric patients. You are responsible for helping children live as normal a life as possible through all of their childhood ailments.
One of the main reasons why anyone would want to become a paediatrician is that this is a very satisfying profession. Not only is working with kids very interesting but you also get to see your patients grow up, which can be a huge reward in itself. However, interesting as it may sound, being a paediatrician is not for everybody.
Is it the right choice for you?
There are a few things you need to consider and a few questions to ponder over before you make a final decision:
- Are you committed to promoting the welfare of children?
- Are you sensitive, patient and empathetic?
- Do you have the patience to deal with kids and their parents?
- Are you approachable and diplomatic?
- Are you fun loving and do you have a good sense of humour?
- Are you good at communicating with a wide range of people?
- Do you do well in team situations?
- Are you comfortable in informal and flexible environments?
If you’ve answered yes to all or most of the above questions, you should consider specialising in paediatrics.
Training To Become A Paediatrician In The UK
In the UK, paediatric specialty training typically takes 8 years.
Years 1 to 3 involve basic paediatric training. At this stage you will be required to obtain membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health before you can move on to any further training. Membership is granted by passing the MRCPCH exams.
The 4th and 5th years of training are focused on more advanced training in three main areas – neonatology, acute paediatrics and community paediatrics.
Years 6 to 8 involve further training in general paediatrics or specific training in one of the sub-specialities, which could include paediatric neurology or paediatric gastroenterology.
At the end of the 8 year training period, if your progress and workplace assessments have been satisfactory, you will have earned the Certificate of Completion of Training. This certificate will gain you entry on the Specialist Register, which allows you to practice as a Consultant Paediatrician. At present there is no exit exam in paediatrics.
Can you handle the schedule and the financial constraints of 8 years of training to become a paediatrician?
Becoming a paediatrician is a big career choice and you want to make sure you check into all aspects of the field to make sure it is the right choice for you. Of course if you love working with children, have plenty of patience and can handle the schedule and financial constraints of 8 years of training, then you should definitely consider specialising in paediatrics.