Planning a baby’s arrival can be one of the most exciting moments in your life, but also one of the most exhausting moments. Thinking about names, changing the use of space in your home and acquiring everything a baby needs are just some of the activities that will consume many hours of your life during pregnancy. In your to-do list, you will also need to include choosing a doctor for your child before the baby is born.

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What are your options?
When it comes to your child’s health care, there are three types of qualified professionals: pediatricians, family clinicians, and nurses specializing in pediatrics.

Pediatricians
Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the physical, emotional and social health of children from birth to adolescence. The main goal of pediatrics is preventive health care.

Pediatricians have to complete four years of medical studies, followed by three years of residency in pediatrics. To obtain tuition, a pediatrician must take a written examination from the American Board of Pediatrics. Pediatricians should take a test every seven years to maintain their enrollment. This means that pediatricians are kept up to date on issues related to child health care. A pediatrician also has to attend a certain number of courses each year to continue his training in order to renew his license in the state where he is practicing his profession.

Some pediatricians receive additional training in a subspecialty within pediatrics, such as cardiology, intensive care, emergencies or hematology. These specialists usually take three more years of post-residency training to obtain their enrolment in that subspecialty within pediatrics.

Family Clinical Physician
Family clinicians must complete 3 years of residence after completing their medical studies. Family clinicians make residency to train in pediatrics and in other areas such as internal medicine, orthopedics and gynecology and obstetrics. Usually they spend several months training in each area. After that, they meet the necessary requirements to give the American Board of Family Medicine qualification exam. They are also required to continue their training and take examinations in order to periodically renew their qualifications.

Since they are trained in several areas, family clinicians are trained to care for patients of all ages. This means that your child can see the same doctor from birth until he is an adult. It also means that all members of the family can receive the attention of the same doctor. A family clinician knows each family member’s medical history and is also more aware of the emotional and social aspects surrounding your family that can affect your child’s health.

When choosing a family clinician, be sure to ask about the age policy. Some family clinicians only care for a few children or do not care for children under a certain age.

Nurses specializing in pediatrics
Another type of health care professional for your child is the Nurse Specialized in Pediatrics (PNP). Usually, these professionals have earned their master’s degree in nursing and have received special training to conduct medical records, practice routine physical examinations of children, make clinical diagnoses, and provide advice and treatment. Like pediatricians, PNPs often specialize in a particular area, such as neurology or endocrinology. PNPs work with doctors in hospitals, clinics and private offices. The number of NPP increases every year, and in the United States, there are now some 18,000 NPP active.

Some parents are reluctant to have their children receiving medical care from a nurse because they think that a PNP may have less training or training in children’s health care. These feelings are mostly unjustified. The presence of PNPs in a doctor’s office can offer many advantages. Parents find that a PNP is longer than a doctor with them when it comes to talking about issues related to health or child care. Also, if a PNP discovers a more complex clinical problem, it is trained to consult with the doctor. If you still prefer to see your doctor alone or think that PNP should see your doctor after you care for your child, most doctor’s offices will accept this order.kidshealth