Many people think of small children when they think of pediatrics. But, in reality, pediatricians care for patients of all different ages. From birth through adolescence and well into young adulthood, having a strong relationship with your pediatrician is beneficial no matter what stage of life you’re in.
The Early Years
Pediatricians serve as primary and preventative care providers for children, teens and young adults up until they reach the age of 21. While the ages of pediatrics patients vary greatly, many patients begin their relationship with their pediatrician as newborns.
As pediatricians, our first role is serving as a resource for parents, especially during the earliest years of their child’s life. For new parents in particular, the learning curve associated with childcare can be rather steep. Pediatricians not only advocate for a newborn’s wellbeing and healthy development, but also for the health and wellness of new parents. In addition to helping parents navigate the challenges of infancy, we strive to be a go-to source for personal support and reassurance. We are always available to answer questions about feeding, sleeping or any health concerns that arise in your child’s first few months of life.
Pediatricians have the distinct honor of seeing our patients through some of their most significant milestones while guiding parents through common obstacles, like illnesses, emotional development and healthy habit formation, that arise during the school years.
Over time, we truly get to know our patients on an intimate and personal level. While we always hope for uneventful well-child check-ins, when problems arise, that added layer of familiarity and trust makes all the difference. Pediatricians can easily recognize signs that our patients, especially children, aren’t feeling well or simply aren’t themselves. Knowing our patients on an individual level adds that much more context to their unique medical history, and allows us to make informed, personalized decisions about the best courses of treatment.
As they move into their teen years, the dynamic between pediatricians and our patients shifts. At this point, we begin addressing patients on their own, without parents in the room, in order to create an atmosphere of privacy and confidentiality. Strengthening this individual relationship presents our patients with opportunities to ask questions they may not have felt comfortable asking in front of their parents, and helps us ensure that the information they receive about the changes they’re experiencing is coming from a trustworthy source.
During a time associated with increased feelings of isolation and high-risk behaviors, making sure that adolescent patients feel comfortable and safe while speaking with their doctor is a top priority. Establishing and strengthening this trust and transparency helps to foster a healthy, ongoing relationship between pediatricians and our patients, and allows us to serve both as an ally for them, and an advocate for the adult caregivers in their life.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of working as a pediatrician is having the privilege of watching our patients grow from newborns and small children into happy, healthy adults. Even as they enter their early twenties, many of our patients continue to consult with us about their health needs, and some even return to us when they become parents themselves. This unique, ongoing relationship is what every pediatrician strives to achieve with each of their patients.
At South Shore Health, our pediatrics team is comprised of multi-disciplinary specialists, physicians, and pediatric nurse practitioners who work together to provide comprehensive and individualized care for our patients. Our on-site nurseries and pediatric emergency rooms ensure that patients never have to go too far for expert care.
To learn more about our pediatrics program, or to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric physicians, visit southshorehealth.org.