What is a Pediatrician?

Pediatricians are specialists who focus on the physical, emotional and social health of neonates, infants, children, adolescents and young adults. This specialty deals with health promotion and prevention, and the detection and management of physical, behavioural, developmental, mental/emotional, environmental and social problems that affect children.

The ability to communicate effectively with patients, families, teachers and social service professionals is key to providing effective pediatric care. Pediatricians work closely with a large network of physicians and other health care professionals.

Pediatrics provides a fair degree of flexibility in the type of practice you can have. Some pediatricians are affiliated with community hospitals and have consulting general pediatric practices where patients are referred by other primary care physicians such as family physicians, emergency physicians or obstetricians. In many urban centres, consulting pediatricians are affiliated with tertiary care centres. Others choose a subspecialty and work in university-affiliated hospitals.

There are an increasing number of recognized pediatric subspecialties. These provide an opportunity to combine clinical and basic scientific research with the delivery of highly specialized care.

Areas of subspecialization in pediatrics include:

  1. adolescent medicine
  2. pediatric allergy and immunology
  3. pediatric cardiology
  4. pediatric critical care medicine
  5. developmental and behavioural pediatrics
  6. pediatric endocrinology and metabolism
  7. pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
  8. pediatric hematology and oncology
  9. pediatric infectious disease
  10. pediatric nephrology
  11. pediatric neurology
  12. neonatology (neonatal medicine)
  13. pediatric respiratory medicine
  14. pediatric rheumatology
  15. pediatric emergency medicine
  16. clinical pharmacology
  17. child maltreatment
  18. medical genetics

Upon completion of medical school, to become certified in pediatrics it requires an additional 4 years of Royal College-approved residency training.

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