Finding a Pediatrician: What Questions Should You Ask?

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Looking for a doctor for yourself is never a huge issue '?? you can ask friends or family members for referrals or pick a name by looking for a doctor that covers your insurance. For your baby, though, you want to take the extra steps to meet a pediatrician beforehand in order to interview them to see if their ideals and practices are in line with what you are looking for. Here are some questions to ask the next time you interview a pediatrician.

1. How long have you been a pediatrician? You might find this information on the doctor'??s website but it'??s good to hear from the pediatrician themselves about their how long they have been practicing, why they went into pediatrics, their education, and even the number of children they have (if any). Striking up a simple conversation will also give you an insight into your pediatricians'?? personality '?? allowing you to assess whether you are comfortable with them or not. Since the first-year is a whirlwind of baby visits '?? ranging from well check-ups to visits for a fever to having questions about a rash or crying, you will want to be comfortable and trust that your pediatrician will be giving you the right answers.

2. What are your hours? This is a big one. Since babies don'??t exactly follow office hours you will want to know how to reach your pediatrician when they are not in the office. Many offices have a doctor on-call that can be reached 24/7. Learn your doctor'??s hours and ask them about the other doctor'??s that you and your baby may interact with. Also, working parents may need Saturday hours or evening hours to accommodate their schedule '?? if a doctor doesn'??t have those it may be very difficult for the relationship to work.

3. What insurance plans do you accept? No matter how great the pediatrician is the relationship won'??t go very far if they don'??t accept your insurance. Ask for a list of what they offer '?? in case your plan changes down the line.

4. What hospital(s) are you affiliated with? In some instances you may have to go to the emergency room for treatment. Be sure that you know what hospital your doctor is connected with and whether it is close to your home and if you feel comfortable about having your newborn treated there.

5. What are your views on...? In continuing the conversation, ask the pediatrician about how they would treat common ailments your baby may experience like a fever or a rash. Ask them about vaccinations and their thoughts. Bring up any concerns you have about the issue and see how the pediatrician responds. It is important to hear their views but if have opposing views about what you want for your child, the relationship won'??t work.

6. Can I call you about...? During the first year you will have a lot of questions about anything from breastfeeding to crying, you want to know that you can ask your pediatrician anything pertaining to your baby '?? and that they will take your calls. Ask about their phone policy and how long it (generally) takes them to respond to calls.

7. How long is an appointment? What is the typical wait? Doctor'??s offices are known to be a test in patience '?? this can be challenging when you have a tired or hungry baby. Ask about how the typical appointment is so that you can plan your day and if you can try to get the first appointment of the day.

9. Is there a sick waiting area? Some offices have two waiting rooms to avoid mixing well and sick children. Ask if the office uses these practices since young children are very contagious and can easily catch each others germs.

10. How experienced is your staff?Do you have specialized nurses? You want to not only trust the pediatrician but feel comfortable and at ease around the staff. Most nurses also check for weight and height and administer vaccines so knowing who they are and their qualifications is also crucial when deciding on what practice to use.

Serena Norr is a NYC-based writer/editor, soup-maker, a mama to a toddler and now a pregnant mama with her second child. You can read more soup recipes on her blog: seriouslysoupy.blogspot.com.

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