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Pediatricians: The ups, the downs, and everything in between

Hannah Hubert
Mrs. King
English 9
May 21
, 2014

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Thesis: Although general pediatrics can be a tough job, it is very rewarding as well.
I. Introduction
A. Definition of a general pediatrician
B. Quote
C. Thesis
II. Description and History
A. When pediatrics began
B. Pediatric development stats
1. First hospitals
2. Pediatricians rising
C. Characteristics
1. Good personality
2. Enjoy interaction
3. Good communication
4. Tolerant and patient
5. Organized
6. Problem solving abilities
D. Keep children healthy
1. Diagnose and treat
2. Physical, social, and emotional health
3. Manage illnesses
4. Subspecialties
III. Day to day
A. Indoors, different locations
1. Office
2. Emergency room
3. Deliver babies
B. Work alone or in a partnership
C. Average 50-60 hour workweek
1. of time seeing patients
2. Administrative duties, teaching, research
D. Checkups
1. Physically examines child
a. Reflexes, heart and lungs, eyes and ears, height and weight
2. Behavior
3. Immunizations
4. Family education

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E. Treat the sick
1. Make diagnoses and orders treatment
2. Arranges hospitalization
3. Referrals
F. Communities
1. Quote
2. Look beyond examining room
G. Day schedule
IV. Schooling
A. 12-15 years
B. High school
1. Sciences
2. English
3. Social classes
C. Medical school
1. 46% applicants accepted
2. Bachelors degree
3. 4 years
4. 2 years in classroom
5. Quote
D. Residency
1. 3 years
2. Care units
3. Subspecialties takes longer time
4. Certificate
V. Positives
A. Satisfying
1. Study
2. Change/save lives
3. Help kids and parents
B. High demand
1. Stat
C. High pay
1. 11
highest salary
2. Low earners
D. Vacation
1. 3-4 weeks a year
E. Many options

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VI. Negatives
A. Stressful
1. Quote
2. Long hours
3. Kids
B. Schooling
1. Expensive
2. Debt stat
3. Many years
4. Quote
C. Emotionally tough
1. Kids with life-threatening conditions
2. Lose a patient
D. Large responsibility
VII. Salary
A. Starting range
1. Anticipated starting salary
B. Average
1. $81 an hour
2. 3 years of experience
C. Impacted income
1. High paying states
D. Self employed
VIII. Conclusion
A. Restate thesis
B. Summarize

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Pediatrics is the branch of medicine concerned with the treatment and prevention of
disease in infants and children. The career of a pediatrician plays an important role in society, as
it helps many families in the short and long term future. Pediatricians take their job seriously due
to the fact that it improves lives. Pediatrician Pamela Johnson says, I always take a personal
responsibility for my patients. Providing education so that they understand why they need to do
certain things; they need to understand what they need to do (Careers). Although general
pediatrics can be a tough job, it is very rewarding as well.
General pediatrics has not always existed. Children became the focus of separate medical
care during 18
century Europe (Fergusons 146); however, the specialty of pediatric medicine
dates only to the middle of the 19
century (Kaplan). In the United States, the first childrens
hospitals were The Nursery and Childs Hospital founded in New York City in 1854 and the
following year, The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia was established (Fergusons 146). As
time went on, pediatrics was no longer just the treatment of illnesses. By the beginning of the
century, pediatricians began promoting the normal growth and development of children
(Fergusons 146). Also during this century between the years 1923 and 1934, the number of
pediatricians in the United States rose by 132% (Kaplan). Throughout time, pediatrics has
become more and more advanced, and this advancement is still continuing today.
Pediatricians have a very important career in society, as they are responsible for the
health of children, next to the childs parents or guardian, that is. However, in order to become a
successful pediatrician, specific characteristics are significant to obtain. Pediatricians generally
have very up-beat personalities, and they enjoy interaction (Warren). Communication is key for

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this career, therefore making skills in that area very beneficial (Greenwood). Furthermore,
pediatricians are very tolerant, patient, organized, and they have good problem solving abilities
(Greenwood). The main job of a pediatrician is to keep children healthy. In doing so, they
diagnose and treat infections, injuries, and diseases, while also focusing on the physical, social,
and emotional health of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults from birth to age twenty-
one (American 6). Some pediatricians pursue pediatric subspecialties. These include the
treatment of kids with heart disorders, kidney disorders, and cancer (Fergusons 147). In short,
however, all pediatricians are working towards the wellbeing of children.
The day to day work schedule of a pediatrician can be a tough thing to keep up with.
Pediatricians work primarily indoors and in multiple locations, typically in an office setting
(Fergusons 149). However, sometimes a pediatrician may need to leave the office if they are
called to meet an injured patient in the emergency room or called to attend the delivery of a baby
(Fergusons 150). Also, pediatricians work alone or in a partnership. The average workweek is
50 to 60 hours (Fergusons 149), although three quarters of that time is spent seeing patients
(Fergusons 149). Time not being spent with patients is usually spent on administrative duties,
teaching, and research (Greenwood). Furthermore, pediatricians periodically see patients for
routine checkups. During checkups, the doctor physically examines the child to make sure they
are growing at a normal rate and to look for symptoms of illness (Fergusons 147). This
examination includes testing reflexes, listening to the heart and lungs, checking eye and ears, and
measuring height and weight (Fergusons 147). Checkups also assess the childs mental and
behavioral development by observing the patients behavior and asking the parent(s) questions
about their childs abilities (Fergusons 147). Immunizing children against certain childhood

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diseases is also an important part of pediatrics, as well as educating families on the care and
treatment of their children by informing about safety, diet, and hygiene (Fergusons 147).
Pediatricians also treat sick infants and children on a daily basis. When an injured or sick patient
is brought to the office, the doctor examines them, makes a diagnosis, and orders treatment.
When seriously ill or hurt, the doctor arranges for hospital admission and follows up on the
patients progress during hospitalization (Fergusons 147). If a patient is suffering emotional or
behavioral disorders, the doctor makes referrals to psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers
(Fergusons 147). In addition, pediatricians must also look beyond walls of the examining room
and into their own communities to understand and confront the socioeconomic and
environmental threats to the health of children (Pediatrics). Jeffery Kaczorowski MD
understands this, as he says, In the past, pediatricians focused solely on the patient and the
treatment of the disease. The health problems we are confronting in kids today such as obesity,
mental health concerns, drug use, and violence are the result of the conditions in their
communities (Pediatrics). All in all, pediatricians are extremely busy. Their typical day
schedules usually goes like something similar to this:
8:30am to 9am- Answer phone to answer questions and make appointments
9am to noon- See patients, do examinations, fill out forms, call pharmacies, and answer
emergency calls
Noon to 2pm- Hospital rounds, lunch if time
2pm to 6pm- Typically the same as 9am to noon

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Evenings- Home on call, gives advice by phone, and return to the office for emergencies, if
needed (Greenwood)
Schooling is quite significant in the process of becoming a pediatrician. Overall training
lasts about twelve to fifteen years (Greenwood0. In high school, classes such as biology,
chemistry, physics, and physiology are important. English classes, foreign languages, and speech
classes will benefit communication skills, and psychology and sociology classes will benefit the
understanding of others. Although high school is important, medical school is what really creates
the basis for a pediatric career. The Association of American Medical Schools indicates that 46%
of 2010 medical school applicants were accepted; therefore revealing that it is difficult to get into
(Healthcare Careers). In order to be admitted, a student must complete a bachelors degree as a
premed major studying biology, chemistry, and other sciences (Healthcare Careers). In medical
school, students spend four years learning how to be a doctor in both classroom and applied
settings (Healthcare Careers). Most medical schools devote the first two years to classroom and
laboratory instruction in the basic sciences (American 14). Pediatrician Neil Warren describes
his thoughts on medical school:
The first two years of medical school are a chore. Theyre not as intellectually
stimulating as college and theres a ton of new material to stuff into your brain.
But everyone who is there is in the same boat, so you make friends and study
together and you survive. The second half of medical school is what youre
waiting for. You apply what youve learned to people, patients, and clinical
situations. You would be amazed how poorly book learning prepares you for the
real thing. Its an exciting and scary challenge. (Warren)
Students must also take the MCAT, the Medical College Admission Test (Healthcare Careers).
After earning an M.D. degree and becoming licensed to practice medicine, one must complete a
three year residency program (Fergusons 148). Residents spend time working in neonatology,

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adolescent medicine, child development, psychology, special care, and intensive care
(Fergusons 148). If studying a subspecialty, longer residency training is required. A certificate
in general pediatrics is awarded after three years of residency and the successful completion of a
two-day comprehensive written exam. Pediatric training is a lot of work, however, in the long-
run, it pays off.
Although becoming a pediatrician requires vast amounts of hard work, there are many
positive aspects once the career actually begins. For instance, helping children on a regular basis
can be rewarding and satisfying. The AAP Career Satisfaction Study Group gave a survey to
more than 5,700 pediatricians. General pediatrics reported the greatest overall job satisfaction
based on personal time, community relationships, relationships with colleagues, and patient
relationships (Kokemuller). As a pediatrician, not only is one helping children, but they are
trained to change and save lives through assisting children and their parents with child-specific
health problems (Healthcare Careers). Additionally, there is a high demand for pediatricians. The
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts pediatricians could see a 22% increase from 2008 to
2018 due to the high demand (Pediatricians). High pay is another positive aspect to the career.
Even the lowest 10% of earners in smaller communities earn an average of $85, 850
(Kokemuller). Plus, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pediatricians earn the
eleventh highest salary of all occupations (Ley). Moreover, vacation is also a benefit, as for
pediatricians who work in hospitals or a clinic, vacation is usually three to four weeks per year
(Kokemuller). Finally, pediatricians have many job options. With a medical degree in pediatrics,
there are many options in the work environment, such as a hospital, clinic, or private practice.

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Also there is a choice of being a general pediatrician or choosing a subspecialty. As a result,
there are many benefits to becoming a pediatrician.
Notably, like any other career, being a pediatrician has its negatives. First, it is a very
stressful job, requiring long hours, often responding to emergencies outside of normal work
hours. Pediatrician Neil Warren, who was previously mentioned, explains the stresses of the
The job of a pediatrician is rewarding and often enjoyable, but no matter how
much you know, it is never easy. Children are often too frightened to cooperate
with an examination. Diagnoses are not always obvious, and patients dont always
respond to treatment in predictable ways. The hours are long. Emergencies can
occur any time, throwing you behind schedule or making it necessary to see
patients after hours, even in the middle of the night. Theres a ton of paperwork
involved in getting insurance companies to approve treatment that patients need,
and each insurance company has different rules, policies, procedures, and forms
to be filled out. (Warren)
Besides the stresses of the job, schooling is also a negative. To begin, it takes a long time to
become a pediatrician, from education, to training, to a residency program. On the other hand, it
is expensive. The average debt among residents who reported any debt in 2010 was $181,288.40
(American 11). They need to start saving from the very beginning; as soon as they start their
internship, they need to start saving their money, suggests Dr. Pamela Johnson (Careers). This
career can also be emotionally tough, as well as a large responsibility. Pediatricians treat children
with life-threatening conditions; therefore it is possible to lose a patient. Also, making a mistake
can be a severe issue. Hence, this career can be very challenging; likewise, if one is passionate
about the job, the positives will override the negatives.

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As it was previously mentioned, pediatricians earn high salaries. They receive starting
salaries ranging from $95,000 to $130,000 (Fergusons 149). The anticipated average salary the
first year for those in general pediatric practices is $124,360 (American 12). On average, a
pediatrician earns about $176,000 (Healthcare Worker Salary), which is translated to about $81
an hour (Ley). Pediatricians with at least three years of experience earn salaries as high as
$201,086 (Fergusons 149). Certain aspects can impact the salary, however. Geographic region,
hours worked, number of years in practice, professional reputation, and personality can have an
impact. Furthermore, Nebraska, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, and Utah are the top five
highest paying states for pediatricians, noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with average
salaries over $200,000 (Kokemuller). Pediatricians who are self-employed, however, tend to earn
more than those who are salaried (Fergusons 149).
In summary, the career of general pediatrics can be very rewarding. Unfortunately, it can
be challenging as well. Despite, pediatricians play a beneficial role in society through keeping
children healthy, which can be helpful in the future. To fill the shoes of a pediatrician, one must
be determined and committed to benefit the lives of future generations. Nonetheless, the career
can be beneficial to the pediatrician too.

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Works Cited
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Fergusons Careers in Focus. Physicians. New York, NY: InfoBase Publishing, 2006.
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Kaplan, Karen M. Pediatrics. Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2014. Web. 24 Apr.
Kelly, Tim. Career Information: Pediatrics. Aug. 2012. University of California,
San Francisco. 27 Apr. 2014. <>
Kokemuller, Neil. What are the benefits of being a pediatrician? Chron. 1 May. 2014.
Ley, Samantha. Pros and Cons of Becoming a Pediatrician. The Nest. Medical University of
The Americas. 27 Apr. 2014. <>
Paul S, Donn S. Legal Right to Refuse. AAP News, February 2011, p.16.
Pediatrics; Pediatricians must confront community-based threats to health. Medical Letter on
the CDC and FDA. 01 May. 2005: 133. eLibrary Science. Web. 01 May. 2014.
Petrakis, Peter L. Pediatrics. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2014. Web.
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Warren, Neil. Ask Dr. Warren. 2 May, 2014. <>