Is a Pediatrician and a Doctor the Same Thing? banner

By westgate October 12, 2021

Is a Pediatrician and a Doctor the Same Thing?

There are a lot of decisions to make when you have children. Establishing good medical care for your child should always be at the top of the list for parents. If you are expecting your first child, or if you already have children, you may have been told that you need to find a pediatrician – but is a pediatrician really a medical doctor?

The answer is yes. Both pediatricians and physicians are individuals who have completed 4 years of medical school plus additional years of post-secondary medical training as well as internships and residencies. The difference is that pediatricians specialize in caring for patients ranging in age from infants to age 18 – they have had specific training in pediatrics. In contrast, general physicians care for people of all ages.

Pediatricians are trained to look at any illnesses and symptoms from the viewpoint that children are different from adults. As such, they need to be treated with an enhanced level of compassion, offering a safe and comfortable space to receive care – especially for shy children, those with special needs or those with serious medical concerns. Children often require different treatments than what might be given to an adult with similar medical conditions.

In addition to diagnosing and treating childhood illnesses, a pediatrician will:

• Provide immunizations and ensure they are up-to-date on required vaccines
• Look for signs of developmental, emotional or mental disorders
• Ensure the child is following a steady growth and development pattern
• Refer patients to specialists, if needed
• Provide parents with nutritional, fitness and safety information

It is perfectly acceptable to take your child to a physician who is not technically a pediatrician. If you and your child feel extremely comfortable in a physician’s office and you feel confident in the doctor’s medical training, your child can receive excellent care from someone who is not a pediatrician. You may need to visit several different pediatrician or family physician offices before you find one that fits your needs.

The team at Westgate Family Physicians are family doctors in Spartanburg, SC, who have cared for thousands of families in our community since 1977. Our doctors have a firm foundation in the Christian faith and we treat our patients as if they are members of our own families. We created an environment that helps patients of all ages feel comfortable and welcomed. From wellness visits to illness appointments, our team can provide the care, early diagnosis and specialist referrals you need to keep your entire family healthy and happy.

If you are looking for a physician, schedule an appointment with us today so we can start building a relationship of trust and compassion with your family. Please call (864) 574-0070 or click here to make an appointment.