Purpose and Mission
Paediatricians are medical doctors trained to care for children from birth to early adulthood. These medical professionals typically serve as the primary care physicians for individuals from infancy through high school. Paediatricians diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, including common illnesses, minor injuries, allergic reactions and infections.
Many paediatricians are self-employed, meaning they have no direct supervisor. Those that are employed by hospitals or clinics will typically report to a department head and/or medical practice committee at the facility.
Some paediatricians (those employed at teaching hospitals, for example) will directly supervise student interns who are gaining clinical experience after their medical education. Paediatricians who own/operate their own practices might supervise as many as a dozen employees.
At hospitals and clinics, senior paediatricians often provide technical oversight and evaluation of nurses, social workers, therapists, and other members of the health care team.
As a medical doctor, a paediatrician has graduated from an accredited four-year college and medical school, as well as completed an at least two year hands-on internship program.
To become a certified specialist in pediatrics, you must apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) for further training that will lead to a fellowship in the specialty (General Paediatrics). Note that there are a number of subspecialties within the field of paediatrics.
Responsibilities of a Paediatrician
The responsibilities of a paediatrician vary based on the workplace, but generally include examining, diagnosing, and treating the medical conditions of infants, children, and adolescents. Paediatricians today are also increasingly becoming increasingly involved in preventive healthcare, ranging from providing appropriate vaccinations to advice on good nutrition.
In general, a paediatrician provides a wide spectrum of health services including preventative and developmental health care needs and diagnosing and treating minor, acute and chronic medical conditions.
A paediatrician must want to help children and parents, and have compassion towards others. She must be able to engage with children and gain their trust to assist in diagnoses. Paediatricians must also be able to deal with the high pressure and long hours of a medical practice.
Paediatricians must also have a strong and comfortable bedside manner as well as exceptional communication skills.
Paediatricians are also required to undertake Continuing Medical Education (CME) on a regular basis, as well as to participate in quality assurance activities.