So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Diagnose and treat health conditions that affect babies, children and young people
- This role may be physically and emotionally demanding
- Become a senior consultant or manage a department
As a paediatrician, you will be a medical practitioner specialising in children and their diseases.
- Assessing children who are ill, injured or have disabilities
- Referring patients to specialist consultants for tests
- Prescribing medication, surgery or therapies
- Explaining diagnosis and treatment plans to parents and children
- Writing patient notes and producing medical reports for professionals
- Monitoring patient progress and responses to treatments
- Supervising and training junior medical staff
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a health centre or in the community. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you may need to wear a uniform.
This role would be ideal for someone with sensitivity and understanding, excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to interact with children.
You'll need to complete a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council, a 2-year foundation course of general training, and 4 to 7 years of specialist training, depending on your chosen area of medicine.
If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum upper second), you could take a 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine. You may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine if you have no science qualifications. This includes a one-year pre-medical or foundation year.
You could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test or BioMedical Admissions Test, when you apply for a course. They test the skills you'll need on the course like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.
Medical schools will also expect you to have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has information on finding a placement.
You'll usually need 7 GCSEs, including sciences, with 5 subjects at grades 9 to 7 (A* or A) and English and maths at least grade 6 to 5 (B) and 3 A levels at grade A in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject.
Check if your university has a paediatric society and get involved. The societies are a good way to hear about paediatric events, talks and training in your medical school.
You could also join the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the British Medical Association for professional development and training opportunities.
You'll need to register with the General Medical Council. You'll also need to pass enhanced background checks.
With experience, you can apply for senior consultant roles, once you're on the General Medical Council Specialist Register. You may go on to lead a team, manage a department or become medical director for an NHS Trust. You could also move into teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.