Shadowing a DoctorNovember 27, 2013
A paediatrician is a physician who specialises in caring for the physical, social and emotional health of children from birth till they are in their mid-teens. Paediatricians diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions and ailments that develop in their juvenile patients, from coughs and colds to minor injuries, annual checkups and scheduled immunisations. They also coordinate referrals to specialists when a dangerous condition or dysfunction is suspected or diagnosed and provide preventive care and advice for dealing with the many biological, environmental and social influences that children experience as they grow up.
Because of the young age of their patients, paediatricians more often than not have to work together with other professionals from diverse streams that range from teachers and social workers to speech therapists, physiotherapists, allergists and dieticians.
Paediatricians need to be good communicators, have an excellent sense of humour and enjoy working with children and their families. Patience, sensitivity and emotional resilience are important character traits especially when dealing with children suffering from critical illnesses and disabilities.
Qualifications & Training Requirements
To be qualified to practice as a paediatrician, you will have to first complete your 4 year medical school program, after which you will have to do a 3 year residency program. A residency program in paediatrics includes mandatory rotations in general paediatrics and newborn care. If you then decide that you want to sub-specialise in any one area of paediatric care, you will need to complete another 3 years of specialised training in that particular area.
There are many different areas that you can sub-specialise in, including:
- Neonatal-perinatal medicine
- Adolescent medicine
- Paediatric emergency medicine
- Paediatric critical care
- Paediatric cardiology
- Paediatric surgery
- Neurodevelopmental disabilities
- Paediatric endocrinology and diabetes
- Hepatology, gastroenterology and nutrition
- Immunology and infectious diseases
- Developmental-behavioural paediatrics
As a paediatrician you could work in a hospital, clinic, private practice office or research university. Your salary, the number of hours you work and whether or not you are expected to be on call will depend on the kind of establishment you work in and the geographical location of your workplace.
The average annual salary of a paediatrician in the UK is approximately £105,000 with the lowest percentile earning about £80,000 a year on average and the highest percentile earning an annual average of £160,000. Paediatricians who work in smaller clinics or in rural areas earn slightly less than those who work in larger hospitals in an urban setting.
As with all other physician specialties, the outlook for paediatricians is very good with the best prospects in rural and low income areas that have a harder time attracting physicians.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.