How to Choose a Pediatrician

When you are expecting a new child you are preparing for a whole new world of possibilities and experiences. You want to provide your child with the utmost care and experiences that will help them grow into happy, healthy individuals. When you prepare for your new baby to be born, you organize and decorate a room for them, you arrange daycare (if necessary) and buy supplies and toys that will help you care for your child. Another important thing you need to consider when preparing for your new child is their healthcare.

It is important to choose a pediatrician for your child before they become ill and need medical attention. If you wait until your child needs medical care to choose a pediatrician, you will not be able to make an informed decision as you will be forced to make rash decisions in the heat of the moment. This is not always the best way to choose a pediatrician for your child.

First of all, when thinking about your child’s healthcare, you should look into finding a pediatrician to take care of your child. A pediatrician is someone who has a 4-year bachelor’s degree, has attended a 4-year medical school and a 3-year residency program in pediatrics. A pediatrician’s residency program provides them with a wide range of supervised experiences dealing with common illnesses in children, serious childhood diseases and understanding child development.

To find a pediatrician for your child, you should set up interviews with several doctors. To find doctors to interview, it is a good idea to ask friends and family. Also, contact your insurance company for a list of pediatricians that are covered by your plan. Once you have developed a list of several pediatricians, arrange interviews with each one. Generally, interviews are not billable services and you will be able to interview a pediatrician for free. However, some pediatricians do charge for this initial interview. If you are charged for an interview, ask if the bill can be applied to your child’s first visit as interviews generally are not covered by insurance policies.

When you arrive at the doctor’s office for your interview, be aware of your surroundings and the people you interact with. Does the staff seem friendly? How do children respond after leaving the office? Is there a separate waiting area for children that are ill? Remember, when you select a doctor for your child, you will be interacting with the entire staff, so make sure that they are people you are comfortable with and trust. Also, there should be a separate waiting area for sick children. Well children visit the doctor for annual check-ups and immunizations. You do not want your child to inadvertently pick something up while visiting the doctor for one of these routine visits.

When you sit down to talk to the pediatrician, have a list of questions prepared so you do not waste time. Preparing questions ahead of time will also help you focus on what is really important to you in a physician for your child. You should ask the pediatrician questions like:

  • How do I contact you in case of an emergency?
  • Will you be the primary physician my child sees or will they see other healthcare professionals on your staff?
  • Is this the primary office that you work at?
  • What are your credentials?
  • What is your philosophy of health care? What role do alternative medical practices play in your treatment of children?
  • What hospital do you refer patients to?
  • If I have a minor question, when is the best time to call?

Once you have gained satisfactory responses to these questions, you should ask yourself if you are comfortable with the pediatrician you interviewed. Remember, you will have to interact with this individual quite a bit, so it is important that you feel comfortable asking this doctor any questions you may have. If the doctor intimidates you or seems hurried, you may want to consider choosing another doctor.