Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, RN
Choosing a pediatrician is an important decision for a parent. It takes time to find a doctor that best fits your child’s needs.
It’s typically recommended to begin seeking a pediatrician for your child approximately 3 months before the baby is due.
Your town probably has a variety of different medical practices and physicians specializing in pediatric care. So, how do you decide on your kiddo’s pediatrician?
We’ll review 5 questions to ask the doctor’s office when choosing the right pediatrician for your child.
5 Questions To Ask When Deciding on a Pediatrician
Begin with identifying the pediatrician offices and physicians in your area. Some parents start by asking their insurance company which offices are covered under their plan.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a convenient online tool to search for pediatricians in your local area.
Once you’ve identified potential candidates, begin contacting each office. Explain that you’re seeking a pediatrician for your child and ask if you can schedule either an in-person meeting or phone call with the physician.
Here are some key questions to review when choosing your child’s pediatrician:
1. What are the physician’s credentials?
You can ask the pediatrician directly and also search online to find out the doctor’s education and training.
Physicians complete 4 years of medical school after their undergraduate degree is completed. If choosing pediatrics as their specialty, a 3-year residency program is completed for further hands-on training.
Some decide to further specialize in a fellowship, which provides training in a particular area such as cardiology.
Additionally, physicians can choose to become board-certified and it’s not an easy task. These oral and written exams reflect their medical knowledge and competency.
Consider if the pediatrician’s training aligns with your child’s particular needs.
2. Is it convenient?
It’s important to find a doctor’s office that is conveniently located. Is it easy for you to get to the office from your home? Would you run into traffic at certain times?
Another vital factor is the pediatrician’s office hours. If you’re a working parent, you may require a pediatrician with weekend and evening hours.
Some physicians may split time between different office locations. Identify a pediatrician with confident office hours for your schedule.
3. What does communication look like?
In today’s society, communication comes in several forms. Review their communication policies including when the physician is on vacation or during holidays.
Many offices utilize nurses to answer questions. Ask if they have an answering service and how quickly calls are returned.
Many medical practices now have cell phone apps to review health records, test results, and other pertinent information.
Some offices offer telehealth appointments and phone consults, as well. Ask how their office provides medical records and communicates with patients.
4. How are acute illnesses and emergencies handled?
We never want emergencies to occur, but it’s important to remain prepared in case a situation arises.
Review the scheduling policies. Does the office have the ability to add a last-minute appointment when illnesses unexpectedly happen?
Many physicians are affiliated with a certain hospital. If your area has a pediatric hospital, ask if the doctor has an affiliation. Also, assess if your child may be referred to urgent care in some emergent cases.
5. Who recommends the doctor?
Parents frequently seek out recommendations from parenting advice to brands of baby food. When seeking pediatrician recommendations, ensure that you’re asking reputable sources.
Your OB-GYN can assist in not only recommendations but the entire process of choosing a pediatrician.
It’s important to find the most appropriate doctor for your baby’s needs. You’ll have countless doctor’s appointments from regular check-ups to addressing acute illness.
Have confidence in your child’s pediatrician by utilizing these 5 important questions.
Looking for more information? You'll love these reads:
- Spring Allergies Are Here: What Parents Need to Know
- 6 Foods That Help Calm Seasonal Allergies
- 7 Tricks to Get Your Little Ones to Take Their Medicine
- How to Spot an Ear Infection in a Baby
- Is It RSV, COVID-10, or a Cold?
As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India.
Having the NozeBot handy could mean seeing your pediatrician less.
The Nozebot is a battery-powered suction device designed to clear nasal congestion in babies and children.