How to: Find a Pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician may seem like an overwhelming task, especially for new parents who have a long list of things to learn about becoming a parent. If you think about it, your pediatrician is a person who will more than likely be in your life for a long time. You need to feel comfortable discussing a variety of things with this person, and you need to feel you will be listened to and not judged. Many factors play into finding the “just right” pediatrician for you and your family.
When should you start looking? Begin looking soon enough to give you time to do your homework. Remember that if your child were to be born before full term, you would want to have a pediatrician in place. Allow yourself time to find a good fit taking into consideration the following components.
You may be asking “how do I start?” Simple, start by asking your friends. Find out what they like and maybe don’t love about the pediatricians they use. Referrals are a huge help – if there is a doctor you don’t know as much about, asking friends for people in their network who may go to that doctor could be helpful. Remember, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try to have at least three to five to research for good measure.
Here are some helpful tips on how to research for what you are needing and wanting in a pediatrician:
Most answers to your questions can be found on the practice’s website. And if not, you can always find out more by calling the office. Other questions may lend themselves to a face to face meeting if time allows.
This can be daunting if you are not sure what to look for. Some simple questions you need to know: Do they bill insurance? Are they in-network providers with your insurance company? This could help you narrow down the providers you are interested in.
Do your research about your wishes regarding immunizations and make sure the doctor will agree to a delayed schedule or none at all if that is what you wish.
Are they taking new patients?
How quickly can they usually get you in for a sick visit, are there other doctors in the practice that can get you in if you need to see a doctor sooner than yours can get you in?
Do they have experience with special needs?
Do they have experience with any other things that may have been an issue for others in your family?
If you can schedule a meeting with the doctor, this will give you a chance to look at the office and interact with the staff and doctors. If there are questions specific to you, then make sure you bring those with you.
If you had a chance to meet the doctors and see the office, consider these things: Did the conversation feel natural? Was the office staff friendly? Was the office clean? Do they have a sick vs. well waiting room? Don’t feel silly for thinking about smaller more detailed preferences because this will be a place you need to feel safe coming to with your child.