Choosing a medical care provider for your child is an extremely important decision. That’s why I suggest that you take a closer look at what exactly is a pediatrician, and understand the level of expertise and training that we have.
What is a pediatrician?
A pediatrician is a physician who has specialized training in order to be able to care for all aspects of your child’s health including physical, behavioral, and mental issues. Because of the intense training a pediatrician must go through, it is the most knowledgeable kind of doctor when it comes to diagnosing and treating childhood illnesses for infants, children, and adolescents.
What kind of training is required to become a pediatrician?
In order to become a pediatrician, one must complete four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and three years of pediatric residency training. That’s a total of 11 years of school/training after high school. Yep! It’s a long road!
What is a pediatric residency?
A pediatric residency is a three-year intense training period in which the resident (pediatrician in training), under direct supervision by either an attending physician (pediatrician teacher) or higher-level residents, acquires all the knowledge and skills necessary to diagnose and treat a broad range of conditions. It is during this time that a pediatric resident will learn, hands on, about the most common and rare illnesses and conditions, from the mildest to the most serious ones.
The pediatric resident gets direct exposure to all areas of pediatrics and is required to complete multiple rotations in each one of these areas including both inpatient and outpatient settings.
It is not easy to get into a pediatric residency. There are several steps a future pediatrician must undergo before starting further training. First, during medical school it is required that students pass a three-step test called the United States Medical Licensing Examination, also known as USMLE or board examination. The board is an extremely comprehensive kind of testing, and it is not easy to pass as this test assesses the mastery of all the material you have learned during medical school. Second, once the medical student passes all three steps of the USMLE, then they have to apply for a medical license. Finally, a medical degree (MD) or a degree in osteopathic medicine (DO) is required in order to start pediatric residency.
What is a board-certified pediatrician?
After successfully completing the pediatric residency training, the pediatrician is eligible to take a written comprehensive examination given by the American Board of Pediatrics. Once the pediatrician passes this exam, he or she is board certified. To remain certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, pediatricians must meet rigorous continuing education requirements.
What does “FAAP” stand for?
It means that the pediatrician has passed the pediatric board exam and is now considered a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Why you should use a pediatric practice for your children?
Because not only pediatricians have the most training in the health and illnesses of children of all age groups, but also since they only see children in their practice, they have the most experience.
What is a pediatric sub-specialist?
Some pediatricians choose to become specialists in solely one area of pediatrics, so following their residency program they complete an additional one to three years of training. A pediatric sub-specialist is usually consulted when a general pediatrician needs help diagnosing or treating more complex or uncommon conditions. If your child ever needs a visit with a sub-specialist, your pediatrician will be able to coordinate and arrange for that.
Why did I choose to become a pediatrician?
Because I love children! Kids are not miniature adults, and what applies to adults in medicine, rarely applies to children. Pediatrics is a fascinating area of medicine because very age group has its own peculiarities.
Ever since I was a little child, I knew two things…that one day I wanted to be a mom and a pediatrician. I have an interest in the care of medically complex children, asthma, allergies, nutrition, development, and behavior. I believe in providing comprehensive medical care, health maintenance, and preventative services to each one of my patients. I also function as a patient’s advocate, facilitating my patients with the appropriate referrals to specialists, health services, and community resources. Breast feeding sometimes can be a challenge, it is very important to me to help new moms as well as experienced moms being successful.
Finally, I chose to be a pediatrician because it is a true privilege to take care of the medical needs of all my patients, whom I call “Dr. Lara’s Kids”, and at the same time develop long-lasting relationships with their families.