Choosing a Pediatrician

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Guest blogger Jaime Bedrin is a Journalism professor at Columbia University and Montclair State University. She’s a mom of two very active boys.

There’s a lot at stake when it comes to choosing a pediatrician. You’re going to rack up many visits during those first few years of your kids’ lives — when they’re healthy and when they’re not. So, it’s a good idea to feel comfortable with whomever you choose to care for your little snot factory.

So what should you look for in a pediatrician? Some parents look for an intimate practice with only one physician. Others prefer a busy practice with multiple physicians. Some parents are impressed with tech-savvy docs who take notes on iPads. Other parents prefer doctors who favor a holistic approach.

When my husband and I were looking for a pediatrician for our first-born son, we asked friends who they recommended. Then we set up a prenatal consultation with that practice. We liked all the doctors in the practice. But we especially liked the convenient location. It was a good fit all around.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes parents clash with their children’s doctors. A lot of this could be avoided with research. Figure out what’s a deal breaker and what’s negotiable. For example, do you need to be able to email your physician or are you okay calling the office? My current practice does not use email to communicate with patients. I wish it did. However, my practice is staffed 365 days a year. And every weekday there are sick children walk-in hours from 7:30-8:30 with no appointment necessary. Genius!

Here are other questions to consider before signing on with a practice:

  • What happens when your physician is away? Is there a back-up doctor?
  • Is the office staff helpful?
  • How long does it take to reach your doctor?
  • Are you and the physician on the same page when it comes to vaccines? Some have very strict policies about vaccines, so it’s better to find out before you’ve committed to a practice.
  • Where are the admitting privileges?
  • Is there a sick child waiting room?
  • Can you access and download health records online?

Bottom line: Ask around. Talk to your friends and their friends about their doctors. Trust your gut. And if you are unhappy, change. Chances are, you will be there a lot, so you want to be happy.

What are your must-haves for making your sick baby all better? Create a weeList and share it!

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tips for choosing a pediatrician. My wife and I are expecting, and finding the right doctor to treat our new addition is really important. I like that you mentioned to find out how long it takes to reach the doctor. If there is an emergency, I want to know he will be able to respond quickly.

  2. Thanks for sharing tips on choosing a pediatrician. It can be beneficial to trust your gut and talk to other parents in the area.

  3. Thanks for your comment about how you should use a pediatrician that has other staff members that are helpful when they are out of the office. I also like how you said that they should be accessible and reachable. My husband and I want to find a good pediatrician for our kids in our new city. Thanks for the tips on what to look for.

  4. Hazel Owens says:

    I didn’t realize that you could set up a prenatal consultation with a pediatrician before choosing to go to them in order to see if you like the doctors at the practice. I’m about to have my first-born son as well, so I’ve been trying to figure out where to go for him once he’s born. I’ll have to set up some consultations to see which practice will be a good fit.

  5. Ellie Davis says:

    I really like that you suggesting looking at how long it will take you to reach your doctor. My husband and I just moved to a new area and we are needing to find a pediatrician for our daughter. I’ll have to look into finding the best one in my area.

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