It is common to have lots of questions when you are choosing a new pediatrician for your children. This is a partnership that will last for many years, so asking the questions up front can help you get to know the doctors and their practice.
Some questions you should ask the Doctor:
- How long have they been in practice?
- What is their childcare philosophy?
- Talk to them about breastfeeding, circumcision, alternative medicine, vaccinations, sleep and discipline issues.
- Do they have children?
- Are they part of a group practice?
- If you go with a doctor in a solo practice, find out who covers when they are away. If they are part of a group practice, ask about the background of the other doctors. Some practices have pediatric nurse practitioners. They are fully trained nurses often with an MA (Master’s Degree in Nursing) and specialized training. Physician assistants are not nurses. They have college degrees and two years of physician assistant training.
- How long does a typical check-up last?
- Ideally, at least 20 minutes.
- What are the office hours?
- How are emergencies handled?
- Some offices accommodate same-day walk-in visits. Ask how after-hours emergencies and questions are handled.
Office and Staff
Evaluate the office: Consider the location when choosing a pediatrician. Find one that is convenient, that offers the services you need and at a practice you feel comfortable with.
- Is the staff friendly and helpful?
- Do other patients seem to be waiting for a long time?
Finally, a few things to ask the staff about:
- Does the practice accept your insurance?
- Does it accept a variety of plans in case your coverage changes?
- Is a payment plan possible if you are not covered?
- Which hospital is the doctor affiliated with?
Getting the answers to these questions help you make a fully informed choice when choosing your new pediatrician