Pe­di­a­tri­cians make go­ing to the doc­tor fun

It’s a kid-friendly and in-de­mand pro­fes­sion.

Metro USA (New York) - - Jobs - SARA FE­IN­STEIN@SaraBFe­in­stein sara.fe­in­stein@metro.us

Af­ter trekking through years of med­i­cal school, get­ting cer­ti­fied as pe­di­a­tri­cian makes the jour­ney well worth it. Af­ter all, “pe­di­atrics is a fun en­vi­ron­ment,” says Dr. Blaze Gu­sic, a pe­di­a­tri­cian at the Bronx-Le­banon Hospi­tal Cen­ter.

Sure, some chil­dren are ter­ri­fied of go­ing to the doc­tor. “We try to make it an en­vi­ron­ment that is kid-friendly,” he says. “That means bright col­ors and lots of car­toon char­ac­ters on the walls.” Not to men­tion toys and games in the wait­ing area.

We spoke with Gu­sic to find out more about the pro­fes­sion.

What does a pe­di­a­tri­cian do?

A pe­di­a­tri­cian is a med­i­cal doc­tor who spe­cial­izes in car­ing for chil­dren from birth un­til 21 years of age. But it goes be­yond ad­min­is­ter­ing shots and treat­ing the snif­fles. “What many peo­ple don’t re­al­ize is that we don’t just take care of phys­i­cal health and give im­mu­niza­tions,” he ex­plains. “We also work to en­sure that chil­dren are so­cially, emo­tion­ally and de­vel­op­men­tally healthy.”

What school­ing do you need?

Af­ter get­ting an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree – it “doesn’t need to be in science, al­though cer­tain science classes like bi­ol­ogy, chem­istry and physics are re­quired,” Gu­sic says -- med­i­cal school is an­other four years. Fol­low­ing that, doc­tors spend three years in an in­tern­ship and res­i­dency fo­cused purely on the care of chil­dren, he says.

What’s the typ­i­cal salary?

The me­dian an­nual salary for pe­di­a­tri­cians is $184,240, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent re­ports by the Bu­reau of La­bor Statis­tics. The best-paid in the pro­fes­sion made $258,321, while the low­est-paid made $141,851.

Is it hard to find em­ploy­ment?

“As long as there are chil­dren, there will be work for pe­di­a­tri­cians,” says Gu­sic. Plus, as a pro­fes­sion that pro­vides a va­ri­ety of job op­tions, find­ing em­ploy­ment is usu­ally not an is­sue. “While most pe­di­a­tri­cians pro­vide direct care for pa­tients and fam­i­lies, there are ca­reer paths that al­low for teach­ing med­i­cal stu­dents and res­i­dents or work­ing on re­search projects,” he says.

Aside from that, the Bu­reau of La­bor Statis­tics projects a 10 per­cent em­ploy­ment growth be­tween 2014 and 2024, dur­ing which an es­ti­mated 3,600 jobs will open up.

The pros

“It’s al­ways grat­i­fy­ing to watch a child grow from an in­fant into a tod­dler, preschooler and on­wards,” says Gu­sic.

It’s also re­ward­ing to de­velop re­la­tion­ships with fam­i­lies, which in some cases can even cross gen­er­a­tions. “Some of us who have been do­ing this long enough get to see our pa­tients grow up and be­come par­ents to our next round of pa­tients,” he says.

The cons

Tak­ing care of chil­dren with chronic and some­times fa­tal ill­nesses is al­ways emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing. “It’s never easy to see a child suf­fer or pass away,” he says.

Pe­di­a­tri­cians also have to care for chil­dren com­ing from dis­ad­van­taged so­cial and eco­nomic sit­u­a­tions, and wit­ness first­hand what hap­pens when chil­dren grow up in poor conditions, he con­tin­ues.

“In many ar­eas of the coun­try where there is a lack of ac­cess to care, chil­dren’s ba­sic health needs are not be­ing met, and young chil­dren are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to th­ese stres­sors,” ex­plains Gu­sic.

ISTOCK

Pe­di­a­tri­cians are ad­vo­cates for the health and well-be­ing of chil­dren.

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