Choosing Your Pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician is not something that you should take lightly. Many people choose a physician based on what friends or friends of friends think. The decision to choose a doctor for your child is one that is customarily made weeks or months before you give birth. However, without seeing the doctor or watching them in action with your child – it can be a very difficult decision to make.
Obviously, you need a pediatrician as part of your birthing plan. Before you simply write down a name according to what someone else thinks, call the office and schedule a visit. You may even want to try and schedule a visit as new patient, just to see what kind of wait times you could be expecting. Many physicians don’t put limits on their patient base and will be unable to see your child during the busy times of year. For obvious reasons, this is no help to you!
You should also be able to see the doctor’s resume on line and be able to schedule a visit to talk to the doctor should you want to. There may be a fee for this service, yet it is well worth it in the end. I can tell you from experience that there are many different types of pediatricians out there. Some seem to medicate everything and others don’t. You want a doctor who treats your child like an individual and is not just looking for an easy way to make a buck. Additionally, if you have any personal feelings about vaccinations, breast feeding, and child rearing – it is nice to find a doctor who shares your ideals (or at least respects them). Pediatricians who are also parents and know exactly what you are going through often make good doctors.
Many people automatically assume that a doctor is credible. This is not always the case. If you are planning to designate a pediatrician, make sure that you do a quick and simple internet search just to see what comes up. You may get a lot of feedback about wait times, personality, and office procedures from patients that will help you know if you are making a good decision. Remember, of course, you cannot believe everything that you read.
Choosing a doctor doesn’t mean that your child will see that doctor all the time. If you are going with a large practice, you should be prepared to see nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and RN’s that may be taking appointments. Remember that as a parent, you have the right to request a doctor should you feel it necessary. While the other personnel may be just as good, even better – the bottom line is that when it comes to your child’s health, you want the best.
Keep in mind that just because you chose a doctor and they attended and discharged your baby at birth, doesn’t mean you have to stay with that doctor. Doctors are running a business, and as such, they too should be held to high standards of customer service. They should not make you feel bad for parenting decisions, nor should they over-impress their own ideals on you. You are there for medical advice. And, for this mom, it is a sign of bad business when you walk into the doctor’s office and have to wait 3 hours for an appointment with a sick child on your hands. The office staff should schedule responsibly.
If you find that you don’t like the way your child (or you) is treated – then keep searching. A doctor, especially a pediatrician, needs to be a good fit, as well as qualified. The days of pediatricians making house calls and knowing your children by heart are long over. Still, you should get a warm and comfortable feeling for the doctor that will be in charge of your child’s care.