There are opportunities to work as a general paediatrician or as a paediatrician with a special interest on one of the many areas of medicine relating to child health.
Two-thirds of paediatricians have this generalist role; throughout Ireland paediatricians work in hospitals managing acute life threatening illness and chronic diseases in children and young people from birth to 16 years of age. General paediatricians are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of children presenting with non-specific symptoms and signs. The work is often collaborative with other professionals and agencies to ensure the best care for the patient. They initiate treatment which may be delivered and continued by themselves or shared or handed over to another team according to the needs of the child and family. General paediatricians have a wide range of skills that allow them to deliver holistic, child-centred care across many paediatric subspecialties. In the tertiary hospitals some paediatricians have a specific subspecialty expertise in areas such as paediatric immunology or metabolic medicine but all paediatricians maintain skills across the full breadth of child health.
Within paediatrics in Ireland there are at present two paediatric subspecialties with separate Irish Medical Council registration;
This is the specialty that provides routine care, special care, and intensive care to new-born infants. The groups of infants requiring intensive care include preterm infants and sick term infants. Neonatologists provide pre-operative and post-operative care to infants undergoing neonatal surgery. Neonatologists also provide a national neonatal transport service for the transfer of ill infants requiring medical or surgical care in the tertiary, large hospitals.
This is a speciality of paediatrics where the consultants diagnose and treat children with cardiac conditions.
There are some other specialties e.g. Paediatric Emergency Medicine or Dermatology where consultants practice paediatric care, and can become specialists either from their paediatric training or may have adult medical core training but have completed supplementary paediatric training and are eligible to practice within the paediatric field.
Paediatric Service Delivery
Paediatric medicine is a rewarding and holistic specialty. The care is provided across a wide range of ages from birth to adolescence with at all times a focus not only on diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions but also on how the symptoms and treatment affect the development of a child. Ensuring that a child lives as normal a life as possible means that paediatricians need to take into account the mental, developmental and social needs of their patients and their families. Advocacy on child health issues and safeguarding are important components of a paediatrician’s work. Care for children and young people is usually led by the paediatricians and delivered by a multidisciplinary team of Doctors, Nurses and Allied Healthcare Professionals.
Paediatrics is a large and diverse specialty offering opportunities to work across many areas of medicine ranging from acute emergency and neonatal care to management of lifelong illness and community care. While general paediatricians make up the majority in Ireland, there many subspecialties of paediatrics currently practiced in Ireland.
- Allergy, immunology and infectious diseases
- Community Child Health (based in Hospital and in Community)
- Diabetes and Endocrinology
- Emergency Medicine
- Forensic Medical
- Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
- Metabolic Medicine
- Palliative Medicine
- Respiratory Medicine