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What is the most challenging part of being a pediatrician?

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Nevena’s Answer

For me in outpatient setting such as in clinic I feel it is difficult to convince the parents that certain lifestyle modifications for an overweight/obese child with elevated Blood Pressure such as healthy diet, exercise and safe weight loss can benefit the health of their child/adolescent. We rarely see overt organ damage in children caused by excess weight or hypertension and many parents do not realize that the kidneys and hearts are under strain and will eventually deteriorate in function. Those changes are insidious and if check ups are done on a yearly basis, it is easy to forget those recommendations, to resist recommended medical therapy l until we start seeing the signs and symptoms of organ dysfunction.
In inpatient setting, pediatricians follow and manage patients on daily rounds and get very close to the family. Often pediatricians get to know the family dynamics very well, becoming very aware of the emotional and socioeconomic struggles, and the burden of the child’s disease on the different family members. By showing empathy and support to the family we share their joyful moments and daily feats in the course of the medical treatment of the child; unfortunately, we also share the stress and the grief of families whose children remain critically ill or medically deteriorate, and separating those feelings from one’a personal life might take some time and internal processing. In general, children are very resilient and often bounce back from the most critical conditions and being there for the patients and their families is extremely rewarding.
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Andrew’s Answer

The most challenging part of being a pediatrician is: Managing the expectations of the parents and talking to vaccine hesitant/resistant parents. Parents bring their children in when sick many times thinking they need medicine, especially antibiotics. But most times, it's about ruling out certain infections that require prescription meds like strep throat, ear infection, pneumonia, UTI, skin infection, etc.

If you take the time to educate parents about why their child doesn't need prescription meds like antibiotics, like for viral URIs, and what they CAN do to help their child (suction/blow nose, cool mist humidifier, tylenol/motrin for fever that is bothersome to child, etc.), then they are happier with the interaction, feeling like they understand the illness, and they can do something for their child. About vaccines- some parents that come in are set on not vaccinating their children.

The pediatrician's role is to inquire about WHY (sometimes feel awkward but it is important to know) and then educate and see if maybe they are willing to vaccinate at least partially (not the CDC's recommendation, but it is better than nothing and sometimes they are willing to it stepwise).

At least this is what my wife tells me...she's a pediatrician.

Never give up.
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