A paediatrician can be a doctor of medicine or a surgeon, treating children up to the age of 18.
What do they do?
An ideal paediatrician understands children and loves them, is a keen observer, dedicated, and listens to parents with patience. S/he is playful with children, full of humour, and treats them with empathy. Paediatric surgery is a super-specialisation which needs extraordinary skill, as patients can be as young as newborns with tiny organs that can only be operated on with equally small surgical instruments.
A paediatrician needs to work on young patients’ minds as well — winning their trust, getting them to understand that they are unwell and need to follow the doctor’s advice, encouraging them to talk. A qualified doctor can work in a state or private hospital for a few years before setting up independent practice, which is fairly easy to establish. Most multi-speciality hospitals these days have a paediatrics department, thus paediatricians are in great demand.
- Love children and understand their behaviour
- Good listening skills and keen observation
- A playful manner around children
- A big reserve of patience
- Compassion & empathy
How do I get there?
Take science with biology in Class 12. After finishing school, take the written entrance test (state- or institute-specific) to enrol for MBBS at a medical college that is well-known for paediatrics. These are usually centres of excellence in other fields as well. Certain medical colleges overseas are considered good if someone were to practise abroad. Becoming a paediatric surgeon means three years of extra training after becoming a general surgeon. This amounts to six years’ study after MBBS.