What is a Pediatrician?

Pediatrics is the specialty of medical science concerned with the physical, mental and social health of children from birth to young adulthood. Pediatric care encompasses a broad spectrum of health services ranging from preventive health care to the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic diseases.

Pediatrics is a discipline that deals with biological, social and environmental influences on the developing child and with the impact of disease and dysfunction on development. Children differ from adults anatomically, physiologically, immunologically, psychologically, developmentally and metabolically.

The pediatrician, a term which includes primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists, understands this constantly changing functional status of his or her patients’ incident to growth and development and the consequent changing standards of "normal" for age. A pediatrician is a physician who is primarily concerned with the health, welfare and development of children and is uniquely qualified for these endeavors by virtue of interest and initial training. This training includes four years of medical school education, plus an additional year or years (usually at least three) of intensive training devoted solely to all aspects of medical care for children, adolescents, and young adults. Maintenance of these competencies is achieved by experience, training, continuous education, self-assessment and practice improvement.

A pediatrician is able to define accurately the child's health status as well as to serve as a consultant and to make use of other specialists as consultants as needed, ideally within the context of, or in conjunction with, the physician-led medical home. Because the child's welfare is heavily dependent on the home and family, the pediatrician supports efforts to create a nurturing environment. Such support includes education about healthful living and anticipatory guidance for both patients and parents.

A pediatrician participates at the community level in preventing or solving problems in child health care and publicly advocates the causes of children.
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