Choosing a pediatrician is not an easy job. At first, you may think of going to the same pediatrician your friends have hired, however, if you want your pediatrician to be someone you would really like, and whom you can trust, there are certain factors you need to consider while making your choice.
Here are some of the important things to keep in mind when selecting a pediatrician for your child:
1. Her philosophy of doctoring/parenting
If you prefer co-sleeping and breastfeeding, and wish to use natural remedies before medications, you would want a pediatrician who agrees with and supports your parenting approach. When you feel supported by the pediatrician of your child, you can develop a trusting and friendly relationship with her.
2. Her willingness in making referrals
It’s important for a doctor to know her limitations, and have the willingness to refer you a specialist without any hassles, if need arises. If you are a parent who gives importance to specialists and second opinions, you would wish to have a pediatrician who does this too.
3. Whether or not she has Board Certification in pediatrics
A pediatrician with a certification by American Board of Pediatrics makes a voluntary decision of keeping up an excellence standard in professionalism, and expertize when it comes to patient care. Board Certified pediatricians make a commitment to pediatrics, and generally limit their practice to it.
The Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS) is a leading organization committed to preparing doctors and medical professionals to provide superior care to children, especially those with special needs. Many of the MAPS pediatricians are board certified and have a vast experience in treating children.
4. Her views and opinions on vaccination
Pediatricians, like parents, may differ widely in terms of their views on vaccinations. Flexibility in vaccination schedule is allowed by some pediatricians, whereas it’s not allowed by others. It’s important for you to understand the views of a pediatrician, and be comfortable with that, before committing to her practice.
5. Her policies of office scheduling
Consider how much time it would take for getting an appointment with the pediatrician. Many of the pediatricians leave some open slots everyday for sick children, and guarantee sick appointments on the same day. Other pediatricians do the scheduling based on first come first serve. Some practices rotate which child a doctor would see, whereas other practices schedule a kid only with her pediatrician.
6. Whether you click or not
Other factors often seem superficial, but can influence your rapport still. For example, some prefer a female, young pediatrician, while others prefer a grandfatherly kind. Some parents only wish to have a pediatrician having parenting experience, irrespective of their age. Many of MAPS pediatricians have parenting experience, which accompanied by their long years of experience in pediatrics, makes them experts in the field.
The key thing is – Do you and the pediatrician click? Consider your gut feelings about a prospective pediatrician and then decide.
7. How does the doctor actually work
By going for a prenatal visit, you would be able to examine how the doctor’s office works. An occasional delay in getting an appointment or something else is fine, as emergencies may happen. However, two or more long delays in a series is not a good sign.
While in waiting room, chat with other parents, and ask the things they like and don’t like about the practice. Moreover, check out the place. Can you find TV, toys or books to distract kids? Even in good offices, you may need to wait for a while during busy days. Would you want to wait here?
After choosing a doctor, the real test is how she works in actual situations. For example, in case a hive outbreak occurs during a holiday weekend, or if a child suffers from colic, does the pediatrician go above and beyond to provide the necessary treatment and care? This is something parents should consider when choosing a pediatrician.
These are some of the key factors you should consider when choosing a pediatrician for your child. When your child gets a good pediatrician, she would get the right care, which would result in her healthy growth.