Finding The Right Pediatrician
A pediatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in the care of infants and children up to 21 years of age. Pediatricians provide medical and preventive care, as well as mental, physical and emotional support. They consider the full spectrum of a child’s wellness beyond the growth charts and age-appropriate vaccines.
A pediatrician will:
- Educate parents about a child’s health, well-being and safety.
- Evaluate child’s growth and development.
- Provide age-appropriate immunizations.
- Monitor a child’s development and identify any potential developmental delays.
- Oversee a child when he or she has an episodic illness, help diagnose chronic conditions, and prescribe necessary medications.
Your friends and family can provide great referrals, but you should always do your research. Find out where the pediatrician’s office is and if he or she is covered by your insurance.
Interview Your Potential Pediatrician
Whether you’re looking for a pediatrician during your pregnancy or looking to switch pediatricians, meet with potential candidates to learn more about their philosophy of care.
Does he or she have qualities you think will be useful when caring for your child? Enjoying your potential pediatrician’s personality can improve rapport—you’ll be more likely to reach out to the doctor and their staff when you have questions about your child’s health.
Call your potential pediatrician’s office and ask some preliminary questions. Explain that you are looking for a pediatrician and ask about the physician’s background and training.
Here are some questions you may want to ask potential pediatricians include:
- Are you a parent?
- What are your present hospital appointments? If it becomes necessary for my child to be hospitalized, where would my child be admitted?
- What is your policy on taking and returning phone calls? Is there a nurse or nurse practitioner in the office who can answer routine questions?
- Are you in a group practice? Do other pediatricians or providers care for your patients?
- If my child ever develops a complex illness that requires the care of one or more specialists, will you coordinate care among all the doctors providing treatment?
- Do you have separate waiting areas for sick and healthy children?
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself while interviewing the pediatrician:
- Do I sense a genuine interest by the doctor in my child’s health?
- Does the pediatrician and the practice’s staff seem courteous and compassionate?
- Does the doctor communicate well to me and my child?