8 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Pediatrician
Of course you want the best for your baby. And that’s especially true when it comes to their health. Just as with childcare, finding a pediatrician requires major diligence. Luckily, most pediatrics offices allow you to stop by and tour the facility, as well as interview the doctors. Just call the office and set up an appointment. Then consider these 8 factors during and after your visit:
One of the most important—if not the most important things to consider—is the pediatrician’s personality. Do you want someone who will embrace your child tenderly, or someone with more of a tough love disposition? Most doctor’s offices have at least two doctors who work at the office, so hopefully you’ll find one whose personality is compatible with your needs. If you want someone who will be warm and gentle, but the pediatrician that you met left something to be desired when it comes to bedside manner, you might consider looking for another doctor.
You can usually schedule routine check-ups for your children during the week and put those appointments on your calendar in advance so you can plan to take off work ahead of time. But what about when your child gets sick during non-work hours? Some doctor’s offices have evening and/or weekend hours, and many have an after-hours doctor who works on call to answer questions over the phone. Think about whether or not it’s important to you if your pediatrician is accessible at non-standard times.
Demeanor of Staff
When you enter the pediatrician’s office, are you met with a friendly greeting? Is the staff professional, courteous, and knowledgeable? Will they forget to schedule your next appointment? Will they be difficult to deal with if issues arise with insurance or payments? You will probably communicate more with the employees behind the desk than with the doctor, so you want to make sure you’ll be dealing with people who make you feel comfortable.
Cleanliness of Office
Would you trust a doctor who worked in an office with dirty floors? Or an office with no soap in the bathroom? Or an office that doesn’t have a separate waiting area for sick babies? Pediatricians should be held to a higher standard when it comes to cleanliness. This is the health of your children, after all! If your home is cleaner than the doctor’s office, think twice about becoming a patient there.
Some doctors are amazing, but they’re in such high demand and their offices are so busy, that it can take weeks to schedule an appointment. Find out how long the average wait time is for scheduling, so that you have an idea of what to expect for routine care. Also ask about same day appointments and what happens if your child’s pediatrician isn’t available on a day that an appointment is scheduled.
Pediatrician’s Point of View
It’s so important for parents to have a great support system. And when it comes to your pediatrician, you’ll want to feel confident about your parenting choices. Ask the doctor what his views are on breastfeeding, circumcision, immunizations, daycare, and other major topics. If his views vary greatly from yours, it might be difficult to build a strong relationship that encourages your way of life.
Location & Convenience
Sometimes the best caregivers are located far away from home. But when you have a sick child, do you want to travel that long distance? Finding a pediatrician who is close to home is ideal, but you also want to make sure that your child gets the highest quality of care. Also, you’ll want to know which hospital the pediatrician’s office is affiliated with in case of serious emergencies. In the event of an emergency, would your child’s doctor be available to continue care at the hospital? Think about what’s most important, and how far you’re willing to trek when you have a sick baby.
If something doesn’t feel right upon your visit to a pediatrician’s office, it’s probably because it isn’t. If you get a weird vibe, or feel generally uneasy while visiting, you should keep searching. We were given an instinct for a reason, and going against that instinct often leads to negative consequences.
After you’ve found the perfect pediatrician, you’ll be seeing them often. You might find that your child goes through their youth forming a strong relationship with their pediatrician. And not because they get a lollipop after each visit, but because you worked really hard to find the best of the best for the little people you love best.
What are some of the most important factors for you when it comes to finding the right pediatrician?