A day in the life...

Find out more about what to expect if you decide a career in paediatrics is for you with a series of real life case studies

student reading booksA student's view of medical school

What's it really like?

'For the first few years my time was mostly spent in lectures, tutorials and practical sessions, including examining mock patients. I was usually in college from 9am until 4pm, Monday to Friday, except Wednesday afternoons for sports or any activities you wish. 

My free time was spent socialising, either in the student union, around the town or playing sport. In my last clinical year, a typical day would start at 8.30am with a ward round. They vary in length but hopefully you can have a cup of tea and some informal teaching around 11am. Lunchtimes are often spent at meetings, with the added bonus of a free lunch with the teaching! 

My afternoons are usually spent in theatres, in clinics or helping the junior doctors, who in return will teach you practical skills or help you perfect your examination technique. In the evenings I try to look up things I didn't understand during the day, and then catch up with my friends.' 

Year 6 medical student, studying at the Royal Free and University College, London (2008)

A trainee's view

The scope to make a difference

Trainee talking to doctor'So far, my training has included working in busy inner-city A&E departments, managing ventilated premature neonates in high-tech units, assessing developmental problems in rural community clinics and looking after patients immediately following kidney and other organ transplants.

I could have specialised in any of these areas or continued to train as a general paediatrician. The work has been hard and at times emotionally draining, but I've never regretted my decision to become a paediatrician.

Throughout my medical school training I planned to follow a career in academic neurology. That all changed following my medical school paediatric attachment.

I spent s weeks in a busy District General Hospital and realised quickly that this was the specialty for me. I was amazed by how closely the unit worked together as a team, and how well the medical staff worked with the nurses, physiotherapists and other professionals in the hospital.

Though the unit was extremely busy, it was clear that everyone enjoyed their work and went home feeling they'd made a difference at the end of the day. I felt that I'd been welcomed into the team; everyone was keen to encourage me into paediatrics.

My interest in neurosciences meant paediatrics was a perfect field to enter. There's an enormous range of neurological conditions that affect children and young people, and the scope to make a difference to the lives of children with disabilities and their families is huge.'

Trainee at a London Hospital, 2010


For further information or queries:

Email: Recruitment and Careers team