In an outpatient setting, pediatricians see a variety of patients throughout the day. These include wellness visits with developmental screening, diagnosis and treatment of mild illnesses and injuries, and care for chronic conditions. They may need to refer some patients out to specialists for further testing and treatment. Some practices include evening or weekend shifts and overnight call duties.
In an inpatient setting, pediatricians care for patients who have been hospitalized with an acute illness, an exacerbation of a chronic condition, or an injury. They review and order diagnostic tests and exams to identify and treat conditions, request consultation with specialists, order therapy and treatment, plan for transition or discharge, and meet with families to discuss treatment options and plans. Shifts may include day, overnight, and weekend duties.
Some general pediatricians will develop a clinical practice focused on a specific facet of the specialty, such as sports medicine or weight loss. This may center around a topic of research or area of interest.