How a paediatrician can help your child
“At the clinic, we work as a team. If I’m unavailable to see one of my patients, parents are able to book a consultation with a paediatrician who has a similar way of working to me, and who has full access to their child’s notes.”
We caught up with paediatrician Dr Anne Buk-Sero, to talk about how paediatricians specialise in the diseases and illnesses that affect the health and development of babies, children and teenagers, and how this helps parents care for their families.
What is it that you enjoy most in your role as a paediatrician?
General paediatrics involves a large variety of responsibilities, from managing illness to helping parents to manage their children’s sleep, to making sure childhood vaccinations are on schedule. I’m aware of the different calendars to accommodate parents preferences for vaccinating their child, as I look after families who’ve moved to London from all over the world. And of course there are the neurological and developmental checks, plus any issues that might arise with feeding during the first few weeks and months. Essentially, my job is to look after the whole child.
Two things I did last year stand out. A diploma in maternity - so that now I have some very specific knowledge about how to offer care to newborn babies, including premature babies. Knowing all this new knowledge allows me to support parents even more during the early stages.
And I’ve also gone deeper into endocrinology, having completed a diploma in Paris. Growth delay in children is a common reason for parents to visit a paediatrician, so understanding what role hormones play can be useful when managing the condition. Another area I delved into was puberty. It’s very important to understand what’s happening, especially in cases where girls or boys either go through early or delayed puberty.
Do you offer same-day paediatric appointments?
Yes, wherever possible. A parent will have a nominated paediatrician for their child, but because we work as part of a team, we support each other to make sure parents feel their child will be seen by someone with not just specialist knowledge of children’s health, but of their child’s health. Because we all have access to the same notes. So, for example, in the case of an emergency – which can happen at any time and on any day of the week – a parent will want their child seen immediately. So even if I’m not available, another paediatrician working in the team will be.
Would you say you are ‘on-call’ for your patients?
I’m always with my phone. So if a parent emails or texts me with a question, I will do my best to reply as soon as it’s convenient. It may be that they want to know what my availability is for an appointment. Or they want to know if a symptom in their child is a cause for concern. I think that parents really appreciate the fact that I’m available to reply to them – and they don’t tend to overuse the service.
And what’s your role in supporting parents?
I often become very close with parents. I think it’s vital to ask parents, especially those who’ve just had their first child, “How do you feel?”. I believe part of my role is to be a support for the mother, and to help her feel secure in her role.
In a consultation, the interaction between the mother and the child is very important to observe. I’m there to support, to be an ally. I’ve been a mother myself now for more than twenty years. I would have loved to have had an understanding paediatrician at the beginning of my journey.
Appointments for your child
If you’d like to find out more or make an appointment with Dr Anne Buk-Serero, please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.