From ArticleWorld

Pediatrics is the medical practice of treating children for various acute and chronic medical conditions and of following their overall general health. In the U.S., the practice of pediatrics is considered a primary care practice, like internal medicine; however, in Europe and elsewhere, pediatricians are seen as specialists for only those children who are particularly ill with something a generalist in family medicine cannot handle. There are subspecialties within the realm of pediatrics as well.

Education and training

Those who practice pediatrics must first attend college and graduate with a postgraduate degree from an accredited medical school. They must then complete a three year postdoctoral residency program or other period of training and be certified in the U.S. by the American College of Pediatrics and by the Royal College of Pediatrics in the U.K.

Scope of practice

A general pediatrician is often an office-based practice. This type of doctor sees both healthy children for preventative care and minor illnesses as well as children with chronic medical problems who are well enough to be seen as outpatients on an ongoing basis. Pediatricians often are responsible for monitoring the immunization status of children and to assure that all children are maximally immunized.

Specialized pediatrics can include the fields of neonatology, adolescent medicine, pediatric cardiology, sports medicine and pediatric surgery. Several of these are hospital-based with a few patients seen as outpatients. Hospital-based practices such as pediatric surgery and neonatology are vital to the management of very ill children as these specialties have a special knowledge of the differences between adults and children and can manage the needs of children that are different from adults.