A pediatrician is a child’s doctor who provides:
- preventive health maintenance for healthy children.
- medical care for children who are acutely or chronically ill.
Pediatricians manage the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their patients, in every stage of development — in good health or in illness.
Generally, pediatricians focus on babies, children, adolescents, and young adults from birth to age 21 years to:
- reduce infant and child mortality
- control infectious disease
- foster healthy lifestyles
- ease the difficulties of children and adolescents with chronic conditions
Pediatricians diagnose and treat:
- genetic defects
- organic diseases and dysfunctions
But, pediatricians are concerned with more than physical well-being. They also are involved with the prevention, early detection, and management of other problems that affect children and adolescents, including:
- behavioral difficulties
- developmental disorders
- functional problems
- social stresses
- depression or anxiety disorders
Pediatrics is a collaborative specialty — pediatricians work with other medical specialists and healthcare professionals to provide for the health and emotional needs of children.
Following graduation from medical school, primary care pediatricians complete three years of education in an accredited pediatric residency program.
Pediatric residency training emphasizes care of the whole infant, child, adolescent and young adult. Following the pediatric residency, the pediatrician is eligible for board certification by the American Board of Pediatrics with successful completion of a comprehensive written examination. Recertification is required every seven years.
Although nearly 60 percent of pediatricians are involved in the provision of primary care for their patients, many others choose to continue their education in pediatric subspecialties.
Attribution: University of Maryland Medical Center