Paediatrics is without a doubt one of the most rewarding jobs you can do. Prior to my paediatric training, I spent a year working in a paediatric emergency department in Brisbane, Australia seeing children presenting with a wide range of problems such as bronchiolitis, DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), minor injuries and even spider bites.
The teamwork, the patients and the variety within the specialty won me over, and I applied for paediatrics that year.
I was initially drawn to the fact that many children quickly get better in front of you, even after a simple intervention.
I distinctly remember seeing a young child who appeared so unwell on arrival to the Emergency Department with croup, who made such a quick recovery after being given steroids and adrenaline. It didn’t take long for the child to go back to his chatty self, and he even proposed to my colleague! The family were extremely grateful and went home later that day.
After starting training, I learned that paediatrics incorporates many children with complex health care needs. In fact, I can now appreciate that one of the best parts of paediatrics is looking after your patients from infancy through to adolescence. It is incredibly rewarding getting to know and support patients and their families as they grow up.
During my training, I have really enjoyed working in the wide variety of specialities that paediatric incorporates. I have had the opportunity to work in neonatology, general paediatrics, paediatric emergency medicine, community paediatrics and paediatric nephrology and hepatology.
Paediatrics is such a diverse specialty, and definitely offers something for everyone!
I also really enjoyed learning about kidney, liver and small bowel transplants during my renal and liver posts. It was fascinating to learn about these sub-specialties, and it's an experience that I will never forget.
I was in awe of the work of the wide range of health care professionals looking after these patients and their commitment to providing high quality care. Most of all, however, I was so inspired by the resilience of our patients and their families even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Patients and staff
Children make such wonderful patients and are such a joy to look after. I love their openness, their honesty and their insight into their own health. They will correct any carer who claims that they do not smoke and tell you exactly how many they do, where and when!
It is also the staff that make the job so fun. Teamwork is key part of paediatrics; it is certainly a sociable specialty and working alongside like-minded people who are committed to child health, is definitely something I love about my job. I have met some of my closest friends through paediatrics, and activities such as cake rotas, singing together at karaoke (before COVID) and Zoom quizzes during the pandemic brought us closer together!
There are plenty of reasons I enjoy going to work in paediatrics, from the patients and their families to the incredible staff we work alongside. One thing I can guarantee is that no day is ever the same, so if you like variety and working with children, think about a career in paediatrics you certainly won’t get bored!
Dr Felicity Beal is a trainee paediatrician in her fifth year based in Birmingham - find her on Twitter @FelicityBeal1