The Journey of a Medical Student to Becoming a Pediatrician

The Journey of a Medical Student to Becoming a Pediatrician

What is a pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a physician who can address medical and health needs of patients aged 21 and younger. They are also responsible for handling uncontrollable toddlers by making them feel safe and calm. They also answer sudden calls in the middle of the night about an ill child.

Pediatricians are blessed with the knowledge and skill to diagnose, treat and prevent common and uncommon diseases and conditions affecting society’s young generation. They also go through on average, around 13 years of training and education to become a fully trained pediatrician.

A pediatrician is a specialist in giving younger patients (from birth to adulthood) medical care, which can be all the way until the age of 21, and at the very least up to their late teens. 

It is the duty of all pediatricians to diagnose & treat ailments generally affecting infants, babies, children, adolescents and young adults. They also assist them in helping maintain a good health.

Pediatricians are primarily trained to:

  • Diagnose & treat illnesses associated with children (typically).
  • Addressing special medical needs of younger patients (like genetic defects, malignancies, childhood infections and injuries).
  • Assessing proper treatment approaches pertaining to the patient’s specific age.
  • Performing annual check-ups, routine examinations and immunizations on patients.
  • Checking whether or not is a child is experiencing normal growth & development.
  • Recommending and organization of needed tests, prescribing appropriate medications and performing medical procedures.
  • Providing medical care for children who are either acutely or chronically ill.
  • Working towards reducing infant & child mortality by large margins.

A pediatrician is also involved with the early detection & management of other health issues that can affect the development, growth and safety of children. Behavioral difficulties, social stresses, development disorders, difficulties with basic functions, as well as anxiety disorders & depression are among those conditions.

Pediatrics, in short, is a specialty of medicine that is chiefly concerned with the physical, emotional and social health of children. There are also numerous further sub-specialties that a pediatrician may pursue to provide care to patients with more specific issues.

  • Pediatric allergists treat & oversee the care of children having issues in their immune systems; such as asthma, certain allergies to the environment, certain food items and medicines.
  • Pediatric anesthesiologists assist in management of infants and children undergoing surgical procedures and operations. 
  • Pediatric cardiologists are trained to perform echo cardiograms on children with heart issues. 
  • Pediatric dermatologists who specialize in primarily treating skin issues in children. 
  • Pediatric urologists receive extra training on how to perform genital & urinary tract surgery on infants and children.

Educational Track of a Pediatrician

How to become a pediatrician is a question that can be answered by the following postulates:

Earning a bachelor’s degree

The minimum requirement to gain acceptance into an American Caribbean medical university is at least 3 years of studies at a college or university. However, most medical students earn an undergraduate or an advanced degree by the time they enter medical school.

Other students can satisfy such prerequisites by taking courses of math and science (like physics, biology and chemistry; inorganic and organic). 

Students hoping to become a pediatrician upon starting an undergraduate program can choose to major in child psychology or another discipline which is associated with pediatrics.

Applying to medical school

Earning a Doctor of Medicine (M.D) degree or Doctor of Osteopathy (O.D) degree is a prime requirement, in order for a medical student to become a pediatrician. When an applicant is applying to medical school, they are often asked to send in their MCAT scores along with their application.

Completing a medical school program

Medical school generally takes 4 years to complete. Coursework during the first 2 years comprises training relating to anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, and medical ethics. The remaining two years of training are clinical sciences.

These sciences pertain to learning how to care for patients within a medical setting (a hospital or clinic) which takes place under the guidance and supervision of experience physicians. During this time, students are exposed to multiple specialties, including internal medicine, family practice, cardiology, gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery.

Completing a residency in pediatric studies, a fellowship in a specialty, obtaining a license and getting certified by a board are the remaining steps to becoming a pediatrician. 

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