A day as a paediatrician

Today your clinic is really busy and the first few patients are who come regularly because of a long term illness. The first is a child with cerebral palsy, who you see regularly for check-ups. Today she is having trouble swallowing, and after examining her throat, you assure her and her mother that the trouble is nothing more than a mild infection. Next, you see a child with arthritis. You're pleased to discover his condition has improved greatly since his last visit, as he's been following the exercises you recommended. You really enjoy working with children of all ages as, so often, they continue to be happy and care free even when very unwell.

Does this sound like you?

Most doctors need to be able to deal with emotional issues; this is especially true in paediatrics as it can be tough dealing with extremely sick children. Children are easily frightened, especially when unwell, so it is important to be non-threatening, happy and appreciate when examining children. You need to be friendly in order to 'get along' with children.

What's next after GCSE?

You're likely to need around nine high grade 9-6 (A*-B) GCSE grades (or the equivalent), preferably including a science subject, and be all set to take three A levels (or the equivalent) at college or 6th form.

What's next after A level and beyond?

You'll need to apply for a GMC-recognised degree in medicine at university. Getting three good A level grades (or equivalent level 3 qualifications) is essential, as medicine is a very competitive area. It's important to check different university entry requirements as these vary between institutions. After university, you'll need to do further general and specialist training to work as a paediatrician.