Being an Emergency Room pediatrician, I am constantly being asked by my patient’s moms, friends, and family who I recommend as a pediatrician – as well as how I picked my own child’s doctor. Well to be completely honest, happening upon my own pediatrician kind of came organically.
My father is a pediatric surgeon, and had recommended one of the pediatricians he works closely with at the hospital. However, this was my own experience, and I know I got really lucky! I completely understand the stress that is involved in choosing a pediatrician.
How to Choose a Pediatrician
The first step is not to become overwhelmed and panic. Realize that nothing is written in stone. If you find you are not comfortable with your first choice doctor, there are plenty of other options.
I always tell my moms picking a pediatrician is like picking a partner. This person is going to be intimately involved in you and your child’s life – for potentially 18 years so it is important to know your wants and needs.
Ask yourself – what kind of office hours will work best with my schedule? Many of my moms work full time, and need a practice that is open early in the morning, late at night, and on weekends. So for my working moms, you may need a bigger practice. One that has many doctors on staff and longer hours of business.
Next, ask yourself, do I want a big practice or a small practice? I think this is one of the most important elements in making a good decision. It is important to understand the pros and cons of both and have a clear understanding of how the size of the practice is going to affect you and your child. So lets go over them:
- A bigger practice will allow you to be able to see a doctor at almost anytime. This is important to many people. They want to know that if their child has a fever, they can call and be seen that day.
- However, there is a large chance that you might not see the same doctor every time, and your appointment will be on the shorter side.
- On the other hand, a smaller practice will probably provide you with a more intimate experience. For many parents, this is all that matters! They want to develop a relationship with their pediatrician and feel like their doctor really knows their child. I am not saying that you can’t find that in a bigger practice, but it is definitely more difficult. The con of a smaller practice is that getting in touch and/or making an appointment with your physician might be a little more challenging.
Finally, you have to ask what the philosophy of the practice is especially when it comes to vaccines. It is important that you and doctor have the same ideas about the vaccine schedule. I have two more tips to help you in your quest to find the perfect pediatrician:
1. Interview your pediatrician ahead of time and bring a list of questions you might have about the practice and their policies. Make sure to ask where your physician has hospital privileges, the after hours policy, and their policy on vaccination schedules.
2. Find a friend that has the same ideology as you when it comes to medicine and ask for a referral. Ask them what they like and dislike about the practice.
I hope this helps a little with the journey! If you have any tips that helped you in choosing your own pediatrician, let us know in the comments.