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8 Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

January 30, 2020

Cute little baby with stethoscope and toy bear playing at home. Health care concept; blog: tips for choosing a pediatrician

Whether you are an expectant parent looking for a pediatrician for the first time, or a parent looking to change pediatricians, making the right choice can seem daunting. There are so many things to consider, but choosing a pediatrician can be a little bit easier with these tips.

1. Ask for Referrals and Opinions

Get opinions from family, friends, and neighbors. Chances are you know people with children who have a doctor they love. Crowdsourcing for recommendations is a good way to get your list started. If you’re new to an area, find a local mom’s group or community social media page to ask. If all else fails, you can look at the reviews online to get ideas.

2. Check Credentials & Experience

The training and experience a doctor has will have a big influence when choosing a pediatrician. Check to see if your candidates are board-certified. This means they’ve not only completed medical school and a three-year residency, but they’ve also passed a series of rigorous exams that they’ll regularly retake to stay current. You may also want to find a pediatrician that is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Some offices have nurse practitioners on staff that see patients. Check their experience and credentials as well. In this case, look for professionals with a CPNP designation, meaning that they are a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.

Also, don’t be shy about asking about their past experience and education. Do they have more experience or training in certain areas? Do they have additional qualifications?

3. Ask About Hospitals

Ask potential pediatricians about which hospitals they have admitting privileges. If your child needs to be hospitalized, where would they be admitted? Some parents have strong preferences about which hospital the pediatrician is affiliated with, while others don’t. It may be especially important if your child has a condition that might require hospital stays or emergency room visits.  If it’s important to you, make sure to ask.

4. Get on the Same Page About Accessibility

How does this doctor handle taking and returning phone calls? Is there a nurse that can answer routine questions if the doctor is unavailable? What about after-hours care and emergencies? Before you commit to a pediatrician, make sure you know what you can expect from them and how easy it is to communicate with them or someone from the practice, including outside of office hours.

5. Think About Convenience

If you find a pediatrician you really love, you might be tempted to overlook how convenient their office hours and location are for you. If you feel strongly enough, that’s fine. But really think about how difficult or easy it would be for you to get to the office when it’s open. Could you work in well-visits around work and school schedules? Will it be a pain to drive the distance with a sick child in the car?

6. See if You Click

When visiting pediatrician’s offices and interviewing doctors, it’s important that you make sure you connect with them well enough to trust them with your child’s health. You don’t have to be friends with them, but if you’re not at ease, it will make visits uncomfortable and even unproductive. If you feel like they’re intimidating, dismissive, or otherwise off-putting, it’s not a good fit. If you already have children and are looking for a new medical home, make sure your child is comfortable as well.

7. Evaluate the Comfort Level

We already talked about making sure everyone feels comfortable with the doctor-patient dynamic, but it’s also necessary to evaluate the office as a whole. Are the front desk staff and nurses people you want to interact with on a regular basis? Even the best offices get backed up sometimes, especially if they’re trying to work you in for a sick-visit, so check out the waiting room situation. If you end up waiting there for a little while, will you or your child be uncomfortable?

8. Check Your Insurance

Even if you find a pediatrician that you click with, has the right experience, and is conveniently located, you probably won’t want to choose them if you have to pay out of pocket every time you visit. When choosing a pediatrician, it’s wise to make sure the practice is in-network for your insurance plan. Fortunately, most insurance carriers that serve specific areas often have a large selection of local healthcare providers to choose from. It shouldn’t be hard to find an in-network pediatrician that meets all of your criteria.

At Holly Springs Pediatrics, we know how important it is to find the right pediatrician. We strive to provide a comfortable medical home for our patients and pride ourselves on creating open relationships with families. To make an appointment to get to know our team, call us at (919) 249-4700.