Pediatrician 101

By Kixcare

April 22, 2024

Contributions by: Ashton Thornton, RN, BScN

At KixCare, we are lucky to have a team of specialized pediatric healthcare experts to answer any of your questions - no matter how big or small - about your child’s health and wellness.

As a result of our multidisciplinary team, a question we often get at KixCare is: “What’s the difference between a Pediatrician, a Nurse Practitioner, and a Registered Nurse?”

Today we will start with a Pediatrician 101 crash course. Let’s get started!

What is a pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the physical, emotional and social health of infants, children, and youth care. They are specialized experts in pediatric health and wellness; other doctors refer to them to help care for and manage their patients aged 0-17.

Becoming a pediatrician requires up to an additional 4 years of medical training in pediatric health. Pediatricians have particular knowledge of childhood and adolescent ailments and can often diagnose chronic conditions.

Although they are already considered experts in their field of medicine, many pediatricians choose to specialize further. These ‘subspecialists’ focus on a specific practice area. For example, neonatologists work exclusively with sick newborns or premature babies.

How do pediatricians practice in Canada?

In Canada, pediatricians can choose different ways to provide healthcare services to young people

Community Practice: Pediatricians can choose to operate or work in community clinics to serve the everyday needs of their patients.

Consults: Some pediatricians also deliver “consulting care” and accept referrals from fellow doctors to help diagnose and treat severe health conditions.

Hospital: Pediatricians can work within the broader community and attend to the everyday needs of their patients, such as conducting annual exams.

Research or Teaching: Many subspecialists work in hospitals or clinics, teach medicine, or do clinical research.

What does a pediatrician do?

Pediatricians can offer a wide range of services. Here are some pediatric responsibilities:

  • Provision of Primary Healthcare – This involves the day-to-day healthcare of children. Pediatricians who work in this area are responsible for helping prevent illness and treat any existing conditions. They offer traditional care, such as physical exams, vaccines, education, and advice.

  • Diagnosis and Management of Acute or Chronic Illness – The investigation and treatment of more serious medical concerns is also a pediatric specialty. Children with complex needs require expert care.

  • Health Promotion – Pediatricians offer preventative education and advice on various topics, including injury prevention, nutrition, physical activity, and behaviour.

  • Evaluation of Treatment Measures – Ongoing research and evaluation of current methodology helps lead to best practices. Reflecting on pediatric care and learning more to improve patient outcomes is essential.

  • Professional Collaboration – To provide the most comprehensive care plan, pediatricians often consult with other experts such as child protection workers, teachers, and psychologists.

  • Advocacy – Children and youth do not always have a voice. It is often up to childhood experts like pediatricians to help advocate for the younger generation and make informed decisions regarding healthcare services.

Where do pediatricians practice in Canada?

The majority of pediatricians practice in larger, urban areas. Children in rural areas are more likely to see a family doctor for primary healthcare. In fact, only about 30% to 40% of Canadian children have a pediatrician as their primary care physician (cps).

With the ongoing shortage of family doctors in Canada, how can parents ensure that children receive the best care possible?

KixCare has you covered!

Register for a Kix360° membership to gain unlimited access to specialized pediatric care! No matter how big or small your concern is, our team of pediatric healthcare experts is here to address all your children's health and wellness-related questions.

As parents, we understand the importance of finding helpful, trustworthy advice FAST. Kix360° provides 24/7 virtual access to specialized Pediatric Registered Nurses through messaging and video calling. The best part? There’s no need to book an appointment.

Our pediatric nursing team is supported by specialized Nurse Practitioners and, as needed, consults with Pediatricians, who are available through video appointments and conveniently scheduled by your KixNurse based on availability.

Try our service today at!

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