Parenting Information

Advantages of Using a Board Certified Pediatrician

When a child is born, a new number is added to the parental speed dial. When a child wakes his parents up in the middle of the night, there is one person that they know they can turn to for the answers. When a new mom's questions seem to be never ending, there is one person she trusts to answer them entirely - the pediatrician.

Pediatricians provide unlimited services to many parents. The choosing of a pediatrician is one of the most important decisions that a parent will make for his or her child. Especially during the first few years of a child's life, a pediatrician provides vital services, such as immunizations, wellness care, emergency care and the calming of parental fears. Parents are advised to ask many different questions of their pediatrician regarding general care philosophies, availability in emergencies and hospital affiliation. Often, the most important question is overlooked - is your pediatrician board certified?

Board certified pediatricians can easily be found at These pediatricians have completed 4 years of medical school and 3 years of pediatric residency. Pediatric specialists will then complete 3 years of training in their chosen subspecialty. Once a pediatrician is in possession of an unrestricted state license to practice medicine, they may apply to the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) to become board certified. According to the ABP, there is but one objective of the certifying board - to promote excellence in medical care for children and adolescents.

The ABP evaluates the credentials and examines the physicians applying for board certification as pediatricians. The purpose of certification is to assure the public that a pediatrician has successfully completed an accredited educational program and has been evaluated and tested. The certified pediatrician has the knowledge, skills and experience to provide a high quality of care. A two day exam assesses the pediatrician's knowledge of general comprehensive pediatrics and the understanding of basic science. The recertification process required every seven years ensures that a pediatrician is updated on the changes in children's health care.

Board certification is purely voluntary, yet the majority of pediatricians seek certification. Once board certified, a pediatrician is eligible to become a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is like the ABP in that it is committed to the physical, mental and social health of all infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Members of the AAP who attain full membership become Fellows of the AAP. For example, John Does, M.D., F.A.A.P. is a Fellow of the AAP.

According to Philip Itkin, M.D., F.A.A.P, a pediatrician in private practice at the Omaha Children's Clinic, having board certification demonstrates a certain knowledge base, as does being a Fellow of the AAP. These pediatricians receive vital educational and support materials on current medical issues. A network is formed of pediatrician for the exchange of information and advice on childhood issues. It can be said that the care of one board certified pediatrician is really the care and knowledge of many pediatricians.

A child's pediatrician provides much more than just medical attention. The well-being of children and adolescents is heavily dependant on the home and family life. According to, childhood requires nurturing and care, not only by the parents, but by a qualified and certified pediatrician. Through education and understanding, board certified pediatricians address all concerns that affect a child's physical and emotional growth. These highly educated pediatricians have taken on the responsibility in their communities of being advocates for the rights of children. They acknowledge and respect the important position in which their career has placed them.

The ABP's certification process requires that board certified pediatricians display not only a thorough knowledge of medicine and science, but other important skills as well. Patient care, communication skills and professionalism are also required of the pediatric office. A board certified pediatrician is required to provide high quality health care that is cost-effective and patient orientated.

There are several competencies that pediatricians must demonstrate in order to become board certified. Their medical knowledge must show that they know and can critically evaluate patients based on current medical information and scientific evidence for patient care. They must also show a willingness to learn from their errors. All of the requirements are combined to show that board certified pediatricians are open, informed, caring and responsible.

While general practitioners, family physicians and nurse practitioners are all qualified to provide health care for children, keep in mind that children have very different health and behavioral needs. Board certified pediatricians have the most comprehensive medical training to respond to these needs. When a child needs specific care, many board certified pediatricians specialize in areas such as ophthalmology, allergy, mental health or dermatology, to name a few.

Using a board certified pediatrician offers a parent comfort in knowing that the child's care is in the best hands. During the first years of life a child has many needs. Board certified pediatricians have the latest information on immunizations, viruses and infections. From simple questions regarding when to start solid foods to more complicated issues such as ear infections, the pediatrician can answer all parental questions. When there is an emergency, the pediatrician is able to treat the situation with ease. A parent can be sure that his or her child is receiving care based on the highest standard available.

There are many issues a parent must think about when choosing a pediatrician. The first step is to find a listing of board certified pediatricians in their area. These can be found through websites, such as which helps parents located board certified pediatricians at no cost. From this list, parents can find the best possible care for their children.

Next, a parent should contact the pediatrician's office and set up an interview with the pediatrician. During this interview the parent should ask questions about care philosophies, emergency availability and hospital affiliation. The parent should ask about the doctor's education, length of practice, board certification and special medical interests. In addition to questions and answers, the parent should observe how well the doctor listens, the amount of time the doctor spends, the sense of trust and whether he or she takes interest in the family's home life.

Parents are bombarded with information and advice from many different sources: grandparents, parents, friends and strangers. There is advice offered on every subject imaginable - sleeping, eating, bathing and discipline. It is hard for a parent to know who to trust when there is conflicting advice everywhere they turn. A board certified pediatrician understands and offers advice that can be trusted.

Board certified pediatricians provide exemplary care to children of all ages. They have the resources available through the AAP and the ABP that assist them with staying up to date on the latest medical advances in the area of pediatrics. They not only are well educated, but through board certification, they show a willingness to excel in their chosen field.

A child's health is precious. Parents must find someone that they can completely trust to provide medical care for their children. The advantages of using a board certified pediatrician are numerous. They are well educated, professional and caring. Board certified pediatricians are at the top of their field, providing high quality care for children across the country. All children become ill at some point in their lives. Whether it is a mild or serious illness or injury, a parent can find peace in knowing that their board certified pediatrician is always ready for any situation.

Robert Garoyan is a specialist on pediatric research. He is a staff wrtier for

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