When it comes to our kids, we want the best for them. It can be hard to make decisions that impact our children, especially when we want the best for them. This includes a pediatrician for your family that not only can optimally treat your child, but one that you can trust with your child’s health as well. It is important to take your time and research to find the pediatrician that works best for your child and you.
Take the Time to Research Pediatricians
Don’t wait until your child is born to pick a pediatrician. Some pediatricians are not taking new patients, and you don’t want to scramble to pick a new pediatrician while trying to enjoy your newly born baby. Ask your family, friends, and/or your OB/GYN for recommendations. Check your insurance to see which pediatricians take your insurance.
Look at the Doctor’s Credentials and Experience
Look and see where your potential pediatrician completed their residency and what their experience entails. Does D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) or M.D. (doctor of medicine) matter more to you? D.O. focuses more on a holistic approach to medicine, while M.D. focuses on a traditional approach. Family medicine doctors treat people of all ages, while pediatricians specialize in children’s health. Not all doctors are board-certified, either. When a doctor holds a certification from the American Board of Pediatrics, he/she has been trained in caring for children and passed an exam in pediatrics. If a pediatrician is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP), he/she is highly qualified and stays up to date on medical research and recommendations in healthcare. You will find these pediatricians will have FAAP (Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics) after their name. Family medicine doctors who are certified by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) are very qualified in their specialty.
Consider Proximity and Availability of the Pediatrician
Is the pediatrician close to you? For well visits, location may not make a difference, but a sick kid can make a big difference for you. Consider that as you research your pediatricians. Are same-day appointments available to patients, especially for sick visits? Are there physician assistants or nurse practitioners in the office that you can see if your primary pediatrician is booked up for the day? Who provides the after-hours call service for the office? Is there an online portal where you can message the doctor (or nurse) with questions or request medication refills?
Interview the Potential Pediatricians
Meet with potential pediatricians prior to committing to one. You can call the pediatrician’s office to request a meeting with the potential pediatrician. Interviewing a pediatrician helps you determine if you “click” with him/her which will help you trust your pediatrician when it comes to your child’s medical care. Interview the pediatrician in person to help you see potential bedside manner and the pediatrician’s demeanor. Make sure to ask questions about issues that are important to you, especially if it involves breastfeeding, sleep training, circumcision, etc. You can also get a tour of the office and see what services the office provides. How does the doctor decide the referral process for your child should care need to be provided by another specialty?
See How your Pediatrician Interacts with Your Child
The doctor you choose for your child can have all the qualities of what may seem like a perfect pediatrician, but when it comes to bringing your child to the doctor, this experience can make or break it. If your child does not feel comfortable with the doctor (especially as your child grows and develops), then it may be time to find a different doctor. The way your pediatrician interacts with your child can help your child be more comfortable with him/her. Does the appointment with your child feel rushed? Does the pediatrician address your child appropriately and respectfully?
Considering these tips and asking yourself these questions can help lead you to the right pediatrician for your family. When it comes to our children’s health, our pediatricians are invaluable.