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Pediatrics - Medical

Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. The age limit of such patients ranges from 12 to 21 with the average age limit being 17 or 18 years of age. A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a pediatrician.

Training of Pediatricians:

The training of pediatrician varies considerably across the world.

Depending on jurisdiction and university, a medical degree course may be either undergraduate-entry or graduate-entry. The former commonly takes five or six years, and has been usual in the Commonwealth. Entrants to graduate-entry courses (as in the USA), usually lasting four or five years, have previously completed a three- or four-year university degree, commonly but by no means always in sciences. Medical graduates hold a degree specific to the country and university in and from which they graduated. This degree qualifies that medical practitioner to become licensed or registered under the laws of that particular country, and sometimes of several countries, subject to requirements for "internship" or "conditional registration".

Pediatricians must undertake further training in their chosen field. This may take from four to eight or more years, (depending on jurisdiction and the degree of specialization). The post-graduate training for a primary care physician, including primary care pediatricians, is generally not as lengthy as for a hospital-based medical specialist.

In most jurisdictions, entry-level degrees are common to all branches of the medical profession, but in some jurisdictions, specialization in pediatrics may begin before completion of this degree. In some jurisdictions, pediatric training is begun immediately following completion of entry-level training. In other jurisdictions, junior medical doctors must undertake generalist (unstreamed) training for a number of years before commencing pediatric (or any other) specialization. Specialist training is often largely under the control of pediatric organizations rather than universities, with varying degrees of government input, depending on jurisdiction.

Career as a pediatrician:

Like other medical practitioners, pediatricians are traditionally considered to be members of a learned profession, because of the extensive training requirements, and also because of the occupation's special ethical and legal duties.

Pediatricians commonly enjoy high social status, often combined with expectations of a high and stable income and job security. However, pediatric medical practitioners in general often work long and inflexible hours, with shifts at unsociable times, and may earn less than other professionals whose education is of comparable length. Neonatologists or general pediatricians in hospital practice are often on call at unsociable times for perinatal problems in particular—such as for Cesarean section or other high risk births, and for the care of ill newborn infants.