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What are the best opportunities for a rewarding career in the medical profession working with children?

I am currently a senior in high school and am interested in the medical profession, specifically working with children. I have been admitted into college and want to know more about my future. #medical-practice

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Raymond’s Answer

Being a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse are the traditional opportunities. Physician assistants, or PAs, and nurse practitioners, or NPs, are options as well. For someone in the last year of high school, it can take anywhere between 2-4 more years of studying and training to be a nurse. PA or NP takes 4-5 years, and to be a pediatrician takes a minimum of 11 years (4 years of college, 4 years of med sch and 3 years of residency).

Which is the "best"? It depends on how long you want to stay in school and how you want to help children. If you want to be an expert in diagnosing and treating children, then you need to take the time to be a pediatrician. If you just to work and help kids, being a nurse allows you to do that in the shortest amount of time. You can consider being a PA or NP as a hybrid between the two. If working with children is important to you, you can find any one of the three opportunities rewarding.

As for me personally, I'm not a pediatrician. However, being an expert and a leader of the care team is important to me. So, I went through 15 years of studying and training after high school to become a cardiologist. It was worth it to me because that's what I wanted to do.

Raymond recommends the following next steps:

As far as the next step is concerned, you should go to college and get the best grades possible. While in college, you'll learn more not just about the medical profession but also about yourself that will guide you in making the right decision.

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Martha Cecile’s Answer

One may limit his/her practice in a medical specialty to children only, and many disciplines offer pediatric fellowships (specialty training after residency in a general area). Examples include pediatric oncology, gastroenterology, urology, and surgery.

Third year of medical school is when most future physicians develop an interest in a particular discipline of medicine, as this is traditionally the beginning of the clinical years - full-time interaction with real patients. In my situation, I discovered my love for primary care and especially, family care, later in my surgical career, when parenting my children was compromised by on-call nights of operating and taking endless phone calls (with patients in the office next day), and drove me to find what I could in part-time medicine.

As for a rewarding career - that is up to you.

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Rachel’s Answer

My grandmother is a developmental pediatrician. The work is difficult and can be emotionally draining, but she made a huge difference in the lives of her patients and their families. If you are committed to treating sick children (and don't mind getting sick yourself every once in a while), this is a great field.