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Paediatricians are the medical professionals who are specially trained to work with babies, children and teenagers, from birth through to the early stages of adulthood. Children are built differently to adults both physically and psychologically, as they are not fully-developed and, consequently, the care and treatment they require is different also.
As with all medical professionals, their primary responsibility is to identify, diagnose and treat problems experienced by patients through a variety of examinations, tests, medical procedures and prescription of medication. It is also their job to ensure that the patient, or in this case the parent or guardian, is fully aware of courses of treatment and procedures available to them so that they can play a role in, and have some control over, the care their children receive.
Generally, paediatricians will work with children and their parents to diagnose and treat everyday health problems, such as colds, infections and minor injuries. Paediatricians will also administer or oversee routine vaccinations. More severe health issues affecting children will typically need to be approached by a paediatrician who specialises in a certain area, such as paediatric surgery or behavioural defects in children.
They work closely with other medical professionals: nurses; doctors; surgeons; child psychologists; and counsellors, especially if the child has experienced some sort of trauma either before or as a result of the treatment they have undergone.
Paediatricians need to take into consideration the effects that any treatment they give, or procedures they perform on a child or infant, could have a lasting effect on the development and life of the individual. They need to work closely with parents and guardians, ensuring that all possibilities regarding treatment are clearly highlighted and that those responsible for the patient are in suitably informed positions in order to make decisions about healthcare proceedings.