Monday, May 26, 2008

How To Choose A Pediatrician

Choosing a pediatrician is an important event that should actually begin even before the child is born. As a general pediatrician, I frequently speak with both current and expecting parents about choosing a pediatrician. Many parents are not aware of the importance of selecting the right doctor for their children, or of how to go about doing it.
Let us first begin by asking the basic question:

Why Choose A Pediatrician To Care For Your Child?

The role of a pediatrician involves all of the following:

  • Screening and evaluating babies and children for appropriate growth and development, and assessing abnormalities and disabilities, if any.
  • Vaccination of babies and children, and advice about specific diseaseprevention.Advice on feeding, diet, food supplements, and other nutrition concerns.
  • Assessing illnesses and treating them, including admission to hospitalisation for serious diseases. Coordination of care for children receiving treatment from different specialists, and responsibility for the child's overall health.
  • Health education for the family.

Pediatricians have the most comprehensive medical trainingto respond to these needs.

How Are Pediatricians Trained?

A Pediatrician is a 'qualified' Child Specialist. In India this means that after doing his basic MBBS (5 years) a pediatrician has to undergo an additional training (for 2-3 years, on-the-job training) in dealing exclusively with children. This residency training prepares pediatricians to help meet the needs of healthy children in such areas as normal growth, development, nutrition and behavior. After completing the training an exam needs to be passed to become a Pediatrician. A normal physician has less pediatric training than pediatricians, and may not be able to provide the same quality of care to a child as a pediatrician. Some pediatricians have additional subspecialty training beyond residency.In the next part we will discuss the 'ideal qualities' to look for in a pediatrician!

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