June 6, 2016 by
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Jobs for Pediatricians at Locum Tenens Steven Abrams lists many reasons pediatricians like him choose their occupation. “We’ve gone to medical school and found that we like to be around kids,” he says. “The diseases children have are usually not self-inflicted, so you have the chance to do more preventative care.”
One of Abrams’ reasons particularly stood out: “It’s one of the few jobs where a doctor gets to hug his patients,” explains the neonatologist and professor of pediatrics at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.
Pediatricians are doctors concerned with the physical, emotional and social well-being of children from infancy to young adulthood. Although it is a specialty in itself, pediatrics also has multitudinous subspecialties ranging from neonatology, oncology and hematology to developmental-behavioral pediatrics and psychiatry. For most kids, interaction with a primary care pediatrician starts in infancy, far before they’ve developed communication skills. “We don’t always have the ability, especially with babies, to ask them to describe their pain,” Abrams says. “We use a pain scale that’s based on heart rate and movement, and also a lot of visual experience. You become an expert at looking at children to determine if they’re sick.”
The profession is also unique because it includes a touch of advocacy. “There’s no AARP for children,” Abrams says. “So often, pediatricians are the public voice. When I was in medical school I had no idea how much of the job involves advocacy and standing up for children. … You’re considered the expert on children’s issues, and that wasn’t a part of the job that I’d naturally known.”
These doctors exercise their voice on a smaller scale, too. “Our assumption is that the parents always know best for their children,” Abrams says. “But there are standards of behavior we expect as well, and we have to make sure the parents are acting in their children’s best interests. You spend a lot of time talking to the parents about the care you’re giving their child, but you have to explain it to your patient, the child, as well.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a surge in hiring for medical personnel who interact with the expansive baby boomer population. But job growth is still expected for doctors who treat the youngest population, too. By 2024, the government projects there will be 3,600 new pediatrician positions that will crop up at a rate of 10 percent.
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