A pediatric cardiologist is a doctor that diagnoses and treats heart problems in infants and children. This doctor treats children who are born with heart issues such as a hole in the heart present in some children with Downs syndrome or those who acquire them due to illnesses or from other causes. To be involved in this medical specialty, the doctor needs to have outstanding communication skills and compassion as well as phenomenal skill in cardiology. Treating infants and children is tough no matter what the area of medicine, but since the heart is so integral to life and it can be in crisis in such a short time, the emotions of the family weigh heavily on the doctor who quite literally holds the life of their child in his or her hands.
Pediatric cardiology requires twelve years of school and a residency or a fellowship. A pediatric cardiologist might also be a surgeon that can perform heart surgery or a transplant. Depending on the hospital, the cardiologist might be a part of a treatment team and will support a family when they are making the difficult decisions about their child's heart health care.
A pediatric cardiology fellowship is usually three years in length. In this role, the fellow or doctor prepares for their future career by working in the areas of cardiology that are of interest to them. The field has many aspects to it, and a pediatric cardiology fellowship can be tailored to the interests of the doctor. Some are more academic and research based, others are surgical and others are possibly more involved in transplant care.
Pediatric cardiologist jobs can be more than just performing surgery. Prescribing medication to help with some heart troubles, meeting with the parents and family of the child who is ill and consulting with other doctors about different cases can all be a part of their working day. Because heart treatment is a delicate balance, and the patients are so young, the hours may be long as the youngster is being stabilized or recovering from a surgical procedure or rigorous test. Meeting with the family often is also time consuming and emotional. The upside to this is that the elation that everyone feels when success is achieved and life can continue for a precious child is unbelievable.
In spite of the fact that the training takes so many years and the hours are long for the cardiologist when in practice, a pediatric cardiologist salary is not as high as some other doctors or specialists. It is anywhere from $200,000 to $250,000 a year. The pediatric cardiologist salary can be a bit higher if (s)he is in private practice and not on a hospitals staff. Since it is a specialty area of medicine, pediatric cardiologist jobs can be more available in some areas than in others. Larger hospitals may employ more doctors and will have more cases proportionately, but a smaller hospital has fewer positions available. Private practice might be about the same in any area.
A pediatric cardiologist works with patients that are hours, days or weeks old through the late teen years. Some might even treat an infant in Utero for complications. It is a specialty that requires patience and skill in both the medical aspects of the job and in the social ones to be able to communicate well with the families and the young patients that they care for in the hospital and even after they go home and are recovered or are recovering. While this specialist needs to be highly skilled, they also need to have big hearts themselves.