So, finally, you figured out that you are the right fit for a career in pediatrics. If you love kids and enjoy taking care of their needs, becoming a pediatrician is the right career choice for you. Pediatrics is a medical specialty that deals with the physical, emotional and social health of children. Pediatricians are doctors who provide medical treatment to children from birth to early adulthood. They specialize in diagnosing and treating problems related to infants, children, teenagers, and young adults. From dealing with growth and development issues to treating different infectious diseases, common illnesses, and monitoring progress and assessing the need for further treatment, pediatricians are responsible for a myriad tasks.
If you want to become a pediatrician, here are some things you need to carefully consider prior to taking the plunge.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
To become a pediatrician, you are required to complete four years of a college degree in order to get into a top Caribbean medical school. However, many medical students earn an undergraduate degree or enter a premedical program to meet the admission prerequisites for a 4-year MD degree program. Students who have a clear goal to pursue a career as a pediatrician are advised to choose child psychology or any another subject pertaining to pediatrics as their undergraduate major.
Apply to a Caribbean Medical School
Pursuing a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree is an utmost requirement to become a physician. When it comes to becoming a pediatrician, it is important to know how to apply to a Caribbean medical school. Before you start applying, it is advised to do an in-depth research and create a list of medical schools you seriously consider attending. Gaining admission in a medical school depends on an array of factors. A stellar MCAT score, having an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, letters of recommendation, and an impressive personal statement are a few important Caribbean medical school requirements, that when fulfilled properly can bolster your chances of acceptance.
Complete a Medical School Program
Medical school usually takes four years to complete. Coursework of the basic sciences programs includes training related to medical physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and immunology, anatomy, pathology, and neuroscience. The remaining two years of clinical sciences program are based on medical training that gives students a clear idea of how to deal with patients in a real medical settings, under the supervision of highly experienced physicians, technicians, surgeons, and nurses. During their clinical rotations, students are exposed to a myriad specialties, including cardiology, primary care, radiology, urology, dermatology, anesthesiology, gastroenterology, hematology, pathology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, endocrinology, obstetrics, and gynecology.
Applying for the Pediatrics Residency Program
Once you are done with your MD degree, now is the time to apply for residency in pediatrics. The ultimate goal of completing a pediatric residency training program is to train residents to become compassionate and effective patient care providers for young patients. A pediatric residency program provides residents with ample clinical experience and builds a strong foundation of medical knowledge, which helps them develop an ability to apply this knowledge to diagnose and treat biological and psychological issues related to children. During your residency program in pediatrics, you will learn common pediatrics procedures, hone in on your presentation and communication skills needed for patient management and cultivate all the clinical skills required for providing competent medical care. Your residency training will also prepare you for working effectively in diverse healthcare settings.
Applying for the Pediatric Sub-specialty Fellowship Program
Applying for a specialty that you are going to practice is one of the most important decisions of your life. Many residents choose a sub-specialty within pediatrics such as cardiology, oncology, nephrology, critical care, immunology, neonatology, pulmonology, and rheumatology. A fellowship is a program of intensive training in a chosen specialty which lasts two to three years, depending on the sub-specialty that you choose.
Obtaining License and Certification to Practice
After completing your medical school, residency training, and pediatric subspecialty fellowship program, now you are all set to practice. But you must be licensed and certified by the state to treat patients. You have to complete an MD degree, a residency program, and pass the USMLE in order to qualify for licensure and certification.
Career opportunities for pediatrics are nearly endless. From a private clinic to a government hospital, management and administration positions right down to the research field, pediatrics can find a number of job prospects.
Over to You
So, here you go. These are a few important things you should keep in mind if you are thinking of pursuing a career as a pediatrician. Though the path to becoming a pediatrician is a long and intense one, the amazing benefits and rewards that await you are well worth the efforts.