What is a Pediatrician?

Pediatrician(Photo: WOSU)

Meet Dr. JoAnn Rohyans, Pediatrician

What exactly do you do?
I am a pediatrician in private practice, which means I have an office where parents bring in their children. I see newborn babies from when they are very little up until their college years.

Describe a typical day.
I go on newborn hospital rounds from 7am until 9am, as well as visit sick kids at CCH (Columbus Children’s Hospital). Then I have office hours from 9 am until 7 pm, which are extended if needed.

What’s the coolest part of your job?
Seeing new parents become more comfortable with their roles as parents; seeing kids (that I’ve treated as a doctor) off to college; being invited to high school graduation parties; taking care a family from their prenatal visit through their child’s high school education, and all of their accomplishments in-between.

How do people react when they learn what you do?
Most people are impressed.

How did you become a pediatrician?
By default. I knew I wanted to stay in Columbus, so I applied to the pediatric program at CCH and the OB/Gyn (obstetrician/gynecology) programs around town.

What disappoints you about your job?
Parent-directed care. People think that the Internet has made them an expert in pediatric medicine when I’ve had 34 years of experience in pediatrics. They get some information off of a web site and think they understand something, when the information might be ok and might not be ok. Also, it disappoints me when parents can’t understand that a virus is a real disease but it needs no special medicine, such as antibiotics.

How has your job changed over time?
There’s more paperwork. There’s also decreased compensation in relation to how many patients are treated. A physician is totally dependent on production, but the average salary doesn’t increase.

How will your job be different ten years from now?
There will be more electronic medical records, better ways to share medical information, better billing systems, and better compensation.

What are some of the most important skills and abilities needed for this job?
The ability to think on your feet, to relate easily to others. You must have broad knowledge skills plus practical experience. The ability to listen, and the ability to summarize and synthesize information.

How much of that is learned and how much is natural aptitude?
Medical knowledge is learned; the ability to learn/study medicine in general, as well as communication skills, is aptitude.

What advice do you have for people who want to enter this field?
Decide as early as you can what field you want to specialize in. Take all of the med school pre-requisites in college before you get in medical school. Make sure you enjoy communicating with parents and helping others learn pediatrics.