A pediatrician generally sees patients from birth to 18 years of age. Pediatricians are trained to assess patients, offer information on prevention of medical problems and manage issues that affect children. It is difficult to generalize what pediatricians do, because there are many types of pediatricians who work in different locations. The work activities of a pediatrician involve parents, children, hospital visits and administrative work.
One of the key work activities of a pediatrician is to discuss the concerns of the patient with the parent. Pediatricians listen to the concerns of the parents and answer questions regarding treatment options, medications and potential problems with growth and development.
Pediatricians diagnose and treat illnesses, such as the flu, infections, injuries to bones or muscles and diseases, like cancer. A pediatrician will examine the child after listening to parental concerns and provide options for treatment, if needed. Pediatricians also help to manage the physical, behavioral, social issues and developmental struggles that a child might experience. Pediatricians should help parents foster a healthy lifestyle in youth.
Pediatricians often need to visit their patients in the hospital prior to going into the office. In a hospital, pediatricians may visit newborns in the hospital nursery to make sure they are healthy, and that their bloodwork results are within normal levels. A pediatrician makes rounds at the hospital to visit patients and determine whether they should continue their stay or are ready to go home. They also assess whether a patient needs different medication or additional testing. After making hospital rounds, a pediatrician will then continue to his clinic or private practice.
Part of a pediatrician's work day is to handle administrative duties. This can include completing paperwork to update patient charts, providing advice to parents over the phone, calling in or writing prescriptions, conducting research and teaching. Pediatricians normally work with nurses, who help them complete some of the administrative work.
Although many pediatricians practice primary care and focus on a child's general needs, other pediatricians have a specialty. Pediatricians with a specialty may work with kids who have heart problems, issues with their lung development, kidney problems or cancer. The methods of work that pediatricians employ often vary depending on the location of the practice. The work activities of a pediatrician at a low-income outpatient clinic differs from a pediatrician in a hospital, since they work with different cases and health concerns.
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