Real Simple Mama

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The Perfect Pediatrician

As Isaac and I get closer and closer to meeting our little bundle of joy, we’ve started looking into pediatricians.  There were lots of things I didn’t realize when choosing a doctor for your baby, and lots of questions I wouldn’t have thought to ask!

Below I’ve listed some of the things we’ve found out on our journey, followed by a FREE PDF DOWNLOAD list of questions which you should have with you when interviewing a pediatrician and their office.

The Perfect Pediatrician - How to Find the One Who's Right for Your Family - RealSimpleMama

Originally written in 2013, updated for 2016 and beyond!

Why Should I Interview A Pediatrician?

This is a legitimate question.  As first-time parents, we didn’t know any pediatricians yet but probably wouldn’t have thought to “interview” any, either.  You have every right to be choosy about the medical professional who’s going to be caring for your flesh and blood.  They’ll advise you on important decisions when your baby is well, and when they’re not so well.  When you think of it that way, it seems silly to just pick some doc out of a phonebook or Google search, doesn’t it?

It would be ideal if you and your significant other could physically meet the pediatrician at their office so that you could check out the location, parking, entrances, patient rooms, etc.  (I have a list of things to look for at the office, too – see below).  However, even asking questions via phone will help you narrow down your choices.

How Do I Start Finding a Pediatrician?

For our initial list, we honestly asked our friendly neighborhood obstetrician.  His practice had a list – well, more of a book – of local pediatricians whom they recommended.  My OB also told me which one he personally trusts for the care of his own kids, which was a big help!  You can also ask neighbors, fellow church-goers, coworkers and friends who live in your area.

The next step we took was finding out whose practices were in our network/insurance.  While this may not be a deal-breaker if you find the perfect pediatrician by some other means, for us it was a necessity.  Just call and ask if they’re accepting new patients at this time with XYZ Insurance.  The receptionist should be able to tell you – then either give them a check, or cross them off your list. You can also usually search on your insurance’s website.

The last thing we did pre-interview was do some online stalking.  We did this for two reasons – one, to see where these offices were in relation to our house!; and to also see if there was any additional information on their website, or on an online review of the pediatrician.  This took our list down to 3-5 finalists.  And thus begin the questions…

Interview Questions

There is a downloadable PDF as well: Perfect Pediatrician Questions

Finding the Perfect Pediatrician – Interview Questions
Used with Permission from RealSimpleMama

Basic Information
Pediatrician Name:
Name of Office/Practice:
Address:
Phone Number(s):
Hours:

Date Visited/Contacted:
Person I Spoke To:

Accepting New Patients: Y / N
Accepts My Insurance: Y / N

Location Information
Distance From Home (distance and travel time):
Adequate Parking? Y / N
Multiple Entrances? (one for check-ups and well children, one for ill children) Y / N
Multiple Waiting Rooms? (see above) Y / N
Number of Patient Rooms:
Closest Hospital/Urgent Care:

Pediatrician’s Information
Is Pediatrician Board Certified? (American Board of Pediatrics) Y / N
What hospitals/urgent care facilities is he/she affiliated with, if any?
Does the pediatrician do hospital visits (i.e. for birth)?
What is their opinion on vaccinations?
What is their opinion on circumcision?
Is breast-feeding counseling offered?

Other Information
Is there an on-call number?  Y / N    If so, what is it?
Is there an advice number?  Y / N    If so, what is it?
Am I able to bring my child in without an appointment (walk-in/minor emergency)?  Y / N
If I can’t bring my child in without an appointment, where do I go?
What is the usual time on returning phone calls/answering messages?
Can my child see other pediatricians in this practice if mine is busy/unavailable?
Do all the pediatricians in this practice share the same philosophies (vaccinations, homeopathic medicine, etc.)?
Does the practice have an email address I can use for non-urgent questions?  Y / N  If so, what is it?

 

There you have it! I hope that this has been helpful in getting you to the perfect pediatric doctor.

Additionally, invite you to see my series for newborns and parents, called Real Simple Motherhood: The Fourth Trimester. I have easy to read, thoroughly researched books on every topic from baby sleep to formula/breastfeeding to health procedures for infants!

How did you find your perfect pediatrician? How was your experience? Any other advice you’d like to leave for new parents?

2 Comments

  1. Lindsey Perez

    May 31, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Did you find that most doctors were able to speak or meet with you for the interview? Or was it hard to get ahold of them?

    Thanks for this list! I think it will help me a lot! 🙂

    Lindsey

    • The Mama

      May 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      Different docs did different stuff: we met with two, and one had us come during lunch while the other wanted to see us first thing in the morning. Honestly I don’t think you’ll get to talk to the doctor personally on the phone, but we also wanted to see the facility.
      I think they all knew we meant business when I showed up with this questionnaire and a clipboard haha! But I hope they appreciated that we didn’t just pick the first doctor we found on Google. Three years later and I’m still mostly satisfied with the pediatrician we chose initially… Although now we are moving and have to find a new one anyway. Time to print out more questionnaires! 🙂

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