A pediatric urologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating reproductive and urinary tract disorders in patients under the age of 18. A professional receives extensive training to learn about the unique health problems faced by children whose organs and bodily systems are still in developmental stages. Most pediatric urologists work in joint or private practices, though some doctors are employed by general hospitals and children's clinics.
Pediatric urologists work with young people who are referred to them by primary care pediatricians. When evaluating a new patient, the urologist asks about symptoms and performs a physical examination. A doctor may decide to take blood or urine samples or conduct imaging tests to confirm a diagnosis. Once the problem has been identified, the urologist might administer medications directly, prescribe antibiotics, or recommend corrective surgery.
Most pediatric urologists are trained to provide relatively simple surgeries in their own offices, eliminating the hassle of referring patients to other hospitals or surgical centers. Among other procedures, urologists can correct undescended testicle problems, congenital urinary tract deformities, and kidney or urethra blockages. When a child appears to have a more complicated condition, such as a cancerous tumor or a major structural problem, the pediatric urologist generally consults with a specialist before operating to ensure quality treatment.
In order to provide effective treatment, a pediatric urologist must understand the differences between young patients and adults. Even common conditions such as urinary tract infections affect children much differently than adults. In addition, it takes special skills to explain conditions and procedures in a manner that young children can understand. A pediatric urologist is generally expected to be cheerful and empathetic to help kids feel more comfortable.
A person who wants to become a pediatric urologist must complete four years of medical school, three years of a pediatric residency, and at least two years of a specialty urology fellowship program. During residency and fellowship training, a new doctor is allowed to work directly with patients under the supervision and guidance of established physicians to gain important practical experience. He or she also receives training in common, minimally invasive surgical procedures. A professional who performs well in his or her fellowship can take an exam administered by a national organization of doctors to earn board certification as a pediatric urologist.
With a license, a pediatric urologist is qualified to work in many different health-care settings. Jobs are available at general hospitals, children's hospitals, and specialty clinics. A doctor who prefers a smaller, more personal setting may choose to work at an established urology or pediatric joint practice. With experience in the field and the necessary funds, a professional can lease an office and hire staff for his or her own private practice.