A pediatrician is a doctor who works with babies, children, teenagers, and sometimes young adults. They work to cure sick kids and give them check-ups. Sometimes pediatricians prescribe medicine, too.
Pediatricians do about seven check-ups in the first year of a baby's life. Pediatricians may stay with a patient until they're twenty-one years of age.
Before or during a check-up, pediatricians examine a patient's medical record. These charts contain the patients medical history, like past fractures, illnesses, and growing patterns. They add to these charts to keep them up to date with the children. A check-up is also a time to give the parent advice about keeping the child healthy.
Pediatricians use special equipment and gadgets to examine patients. A stethoscope is used to listen to the patients heart and lungs. This tool can help point out irregular breathing and heart sounds which can lead to health problems.
An otoscope is used to look into the patients ears. This device has a light attached so the pediatrician can see the eardrum.
Pediatricians use a flat wood stick called a tongue depressor to observe a patient's mouth and throat. This keeps the tongue down so the tonsils are visible.
A blood pressure cuff is put around a patients arm and used to check blood pressure. There is an air pump attached to the cuff that inflates it, squeezing the patients arm. This stops the blood from flowing through the artery. Then the pediatrician lets air escape and listens to the immediate blood flow.
Pediatricians visit their patients at a clinic, medical office, or hospital. They have regular hours, but sometimes need to work outside those hours for emergencies.
In order to be a pediatrician, you need to know how to recognize if a child is physically or mentally ill. They also need to understand good nutrition habits for kids. They should know what food kids should eat and how many servings of food each day.
Pediatricians specialize in child health care but may need help with their job. They may refer a child to a pediatric subspecialist. They may ask for help from a pediatric cardiologist who can treat children with heart disorders. Or they may ask for help from a neonatologist, who knows about diseases of babies, or a neurologist, who knows about problems in a child's nervous system.
Pediatricians are also concerned with proper hygiene. Bathing and washing hands are important because if you don't, you can catch germs and become sick.
A pediatrician might write out a prescription to a patient and have a pharmacist give the patient the medicine to cure them.
If an illness is bad enough, a pediatrician might hospitalize a patient. The pediatrician can contact doctors and surgeons and give them information on the patient.
To become a pediatrician it takes years of studying. They need to understand science, like biology, anatomy, physiology, and psychology.
To become a pediatrician, you need to also study chemistry, sociology, and physics. They also take math classes to learn how to solve equations. They must earn a Bachelorís degree. After college, students need to attend medical school, but they must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before they do so. They have to have good grades to be accepted into medical school. It usually takes four years to complete medical school.
After youíve gotten a Medical Degree, you must finish residency programs to practice medicine. Residencies are training programs. Residencies usually take three years to complete to become a pediatrician in the U.S.
Pediatricians need a license to practice medicine. They need to get their license in the state or province they want to work in. They must pass both the residency program and licensing exam. Some pediatricians continue to learn about medicine by joining organizations.
Wallner, Rosemary. Pediatrician. Capstone Books. Mankato, Minnesota.(2000).
Images of baby, hospital, carrots, and medicine and stethoscope from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?cag=1> Images free for non-profit and personal use. (October-February, 2003-2004).
Bernstein, Joanne E. and Paul Cohen. Dizzy Doctor Riddles. Niles, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company. 1989.