How To Become A Paediatrician (With Essential Skills)
Paediatricians are doctors or healthcare professionals who treat children and manage their overall well-being by recommending suitable medication or devising specific treatment plans. These professionals also serve as counsellors for infants and children to help them better navigate through health issues. If you want to work with children to diagnose illnesses and recommend holistic treatment, you can benefit from knowing how to become a paediatrician and if this is the right career for you. In this article, we discuss the steps you can take to become a paediatrician and the essential skills required to excel in this job role.
What Is A Paediatrician?
A paediatrician is a medical doctor who specialises in children's healthcare and oversees the healthy development of a child's physical, mental and behavioural well-being till they turn eighteen. This job requires skilled professionals who can correctly diagnose and treat various childhood illnesses, whether they are minor health issues or chronic. Some paediatricians can choose to specialise in a particular age group, such as infants or toddlers or a branch of paediatric medicine like paediatric cardiology. They manage the overall health of their patients, including a child's developmental phases, illnesses and treatment.
How To Become A Paediatrician?
Follow these steps to learn how to become a paediatrician:
1. Earn a bachelor's degree
The first step to becoming a paediatrician is earning a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree that the Medical Council of India (MCI) recognises. A candidate can give an admission entrance test for medical board recognised institutes such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) by showing an educational background in physics, chemistry and biology. While the syllabus varies with the specialisation you choose, some typical concepts you can expect to study under an MBBS degree are various respiratory and neonatal diseases, low birth weight in babies and children's electrolyte balance.
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2. Gain relevant experience
Gaining relevant experience during your bachelor's degree can help boost your experiential learning and equip you with skills that can help you excel in your career. While some bachelor's degrees may mandate getting an internship experience alongside the course curriculum, you can also contact medical organisations or hospitals directly to work in an area of your interest. Internships and work under the guidance of mentors give you the opportunity to gain knowledge and grow your mindset while familiarising yourself with the workplace. You can understand what an employer expects from their employees and prepare accordingly.
3. Earn a postgraduate degree
Getting a postgraduate degree in paediatrics can help you gain advanced knowledge on the latest research and developments in this field while also familiarising you with traditional medicine and healing techniques for children. Since this is an advanced degree, you can expand your understanding of the subject academically and prepare yourself for many professional opportunities, from networking and learning intensively in a program like this. You can also expect to get specialised training in an area of your choice, like medical or surgical and connect with potential mentors who can guide you throughout your job search process.
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4. Get a PhD
You can benefit from enrolling yourself in a PhD program and learning about the various research projects, opportunities and fellowships to boost your experiential learning. Getting a PhD degree can also position you as a thought leader in your field and prepare you to carry out an in-depth study on a specific topic that supports your research interests. It also enables you to meet like-minded individuals and network with professors and other experts in your field by providing you with a creative and unique environment for healthy discussion. In addition, you can participate in active paediatric research.
Related: 13 Best PG Courses After MBBS Degree (With Descriptions)
5. Get a license
The next step to practice as a paediatrician is to get a relevant license that gives you legal authorisation and the right to work for treating children under eighteen years of age. You can register yourself with the MCI during your postgraduate studies to gain the authority to practise as a paediatrician. It is important to renew your registration annually to continue your practice. Once you get your license, you can start your independent medical practice, work in a hospital or pharmaceutical centre. You may require a one-time registration to set up your hospital.
6. Gain certifications
While a license gives you the authority to practice as a paediatrician, you may require some additional certifications to enhance your resume and understanding of the dynamic field of paediatrics. Gaining other certifications can place you as a competent professional in your area and enable your patients to develop trust for your services and professionalism. You have a higher chance of working in reputable hospitals if you have a broader understanding of relevant foundational concepts in paediatrics such as adolescent medicine, antibiotic resistance and child and adolescent psychiatry. These certifications can also show your dedication to the subject.
Related: How To List Certifications on a Resume (With Examples)
Typical Duties Of A Paediatrician
Some typical duties of paediatricians include:
Learning about every child's home environment to better familiarise themselves with their environment, values and upbringing and offer holistic care for their overall development
Communicating with the parents and guardians of every child to discuss and share their medical history, medication and treatment plan
Conducting regular check-ups and medical examinations to assess a patient's well-being
Giving immunisations on schedule to keep a patient's health in check
Tracking a child's overall growth and developing frameworks, mechanisms and methods to help them meet their developmental benchmarks and needs
Conducting diagnostic tests to understand and analyse a patient's health condition better
Prescribing suitable medication to their patients and deciding on the dosage to support their holistic wellness and treatment process
Related: 11 Paediatrician Responsibilities For Career Success
Essential Skills Of Paediatricians
Some essential skills of paediatricians include:
Paediatricians are medical professionals who require to be highly skilled at communication. Their job often requires them to communicate effectively with their patients and parents to inform them of treatment. Excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills enable them to explain complex medical procedures and treatment to children and young adults. To ensure that parents understand the child's ailment and treatment plans, professionals communicate with them efficiently and clearly, eliminating medical jargon to simplify matters.
Related: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)
Paediatricians are excellent problem-solvers as their job is full of uncertainties and unpredictable medical situations, where they may require using this skill to navigate a crisis better. Excellent problem-solving skills also enable these professionals to prepare personalised treatment plans based on each patient's situation and assess their condition carefully. Children react differently to a similar situation depending on their personalities, so paediatricians benefit from analysing the reported symptoms to provide a workable solution for the parents and the patient. These professionals require a solid problem-solving skills and mindset to assist their patients effectively.
Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples
Relatability to children
Paediatricians' job requires spending time with children along with patience, compassion and understanding to relate with children and make them comfortable with diagnoses and treatment. Having a natural ability to interact with children in an empathetic and non-judgmental way can help these professionals perform their job effectively. Many children get intimidated whenever they visit a doctor or hospital, so having this skill can help them navigate such situations better to provide the best treatment for their patients. Some children can get scared of needles and complex operative procedures, so having good relatability with children can help them relax their patients.
Another essential skill for paediatricians is excellent healthcare-related knowledge and the ability to execute medical tasks efficiently. Knowing the vast majority of patients' issues can help them diagnose and assess them for their treatment while easing the discomfort associated with such conditions. Apart from having solid knowledge and foundational skills on the essential medical concepts and therapy, they can also benefit from staying updated on the latest trends and innovations in paediatrics to grow and assist their patients in the best manner professionally.
Related: Healthcare Skills: Definition, Examples And How To Improve
Paediatricians work with multiple medical teams to devise a collaborative and sustainable treatment solution for their patients while constantly discussing their condition with their mentors or other senior medical professionals. Since they regularly interact with multiple stakeholders, including the patients and their parents, having good teamwork skills helps them to enable mutual communication and active listening to increase the effectiveness of a discussion. They also work with nurses and fellow paediatricians to discuss and navigate complex health issues, so teamwork can allow them to share quality information and guidance to inform their team in decision-making.
Related: Examples Of Teamwork Skills (And How To Improve Them)
Empathy is another essential skill for a paediatrician. They often require a thorough understanding of their patients' perspectives, illness and suffering to better guide and assist them in the healing process. Children are impressionable individuals and are less likely to cope with and overcome emotional distress. Empathy enables these professionals to understand each patient's case individually and determine the most viable treatment solution. This skill can also help their profession as children can easily communicate with someone who understands them.
Related: Empathic Skills: Definition And Examples (With Tips)
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.
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