babyMaternity Magazine
Creative Child

5 Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

by Sarah Lyons

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3. Visit the office

Determine if you feel comfortable in the pediatrician's office by taking a tour. Ask if they have times available for potential patients to come and visit the office or if you would need to make an appointment and ask if you can interview the doctor at the same time. Remember to ask if there is a charge for visiting. Verify with your insurance company to see if the cost would be covered or if you would be responsible for the fees.

When visiting the office be aware of what the overall environment feels like. Take into consideration if the office staff is courteous, polite, and willing to help. Is the office clean and inviting? Was parking convenient? Do they have separate sick and well waiting areas? Take all of these things into consideration in your decision. If you plan to visit more than one office, be sure to take notes for later consideration.

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4. Ask some questions

Start by asking about how sick appointments work. How long would it take for a sick child to be seen? Is there a good chance the child will be seen by his own doctor? Do you have similar views on health and wellness such as circumcision, breastfeeding, and immunizations? It is also important to consider what your preferences are. Do you want a doctor who offers choices and lets you decide which one works best for you? Or would you be more comfortable with one who gives a lot of directions? Overall, does the doctor seem genuinely interested in your child or does he seem distracted or rushed? Take your overall impression into account when making your decision.

5. Consider the doctor’s bedside manner

How the doctor interacts with your child will have a lot of impact on the decision to choose a pediatrician. Do you feel comfortable around the doctor? Does your child? Are they willing to take the time to listen to your questions and concerns? A good beside manner can go along way in making you and your child feel comfortable.

While it’s natural to worry about the long-term results of your parenting decisions, keep in mind that your choice in a pediatrician doesn’t have to be permanent. The parent’s goal is the same as the pediatrician: a happy and healthy child. If you don’t feel that your pediatrician shares this goal, it might be time to look for a one who does.

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Sidebar:

When is it time to find a new pediatrician?

- If your child cries the whole time, that alone, is not cause to switch. However, if the doctor doesn’t seem to care or make an effort to soothe your child, you may have a problem.

- If you’re unclear why a certain medication is prescribed or why a test is done.

- If you can’t come to an agreement, or at least a middle ground, on most issues.

- If the location and hours are too inconvenient for your family.

- If the doctor often seems inaccessible when your child is sick.

- If the doctor is making you feel bad or consistently reproaching you for parenting choices.

- If you feel the doctor is not listening to your concerns.

Before switching, discuss your concerns with the doctor. If a compromise cannot be made, it’s time to look elsewhere. Your child’s health is top priority.

 

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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