Interviewing Pediatricians

Interviewing Pediatricians

This afternoon my husband and I are going to visit and interview a potential pediatrician. At first, I was a confused and overwhelmed about what kind of questions to ask. After a little thought and some help from my “Mom-friends”, I complied a pretty thorough list. So for those out there that are also at this stage of baby-planning- I hope this is useful for you!

1. What is your philosophy on child rearing? Just as you likely aligned yourself with a care provider that shared a similar birth philosophy for your labor and delivery, you may want to do the same with your pediatrician.

Here are some questions that may help you decide if you and your pediatrician are on the same page.

*Does the pediatrician support and help facilitate breastfeeding?
*How do you feel about co-sleeping?
*Does the pediatrician want you to stay on a strict feeding and sleeping schedule?
*What is their advice on how to handle a crying baby?
*If you are a family that incorporates alternative healing modalities (like acupuncture, chiropractor or holistic medicine) is that supported?
*What is the pediatrician’s opinion on circumcision?
*What is the pediatrician’s opinion on antibiotics?
*What is the pediatrician’s opinion on immunizations? Do you allow parents to space out vaccinations if they want to do that?

2. What hospital are you affiliated with? If I am giving birth at a different hospital, Birth Center or home birth, do you come there or do we wait until I leave to have our first visit with you?

3. What happens if my baby gets sick during the weekend or after office hours? Do you have weekend hours? Or do I go to the emergency room?

4. Are you a solo practitioner? If so, who is your back up? If you are part of a group, do we rotate through the group or primarily see you?

5. Do you take insurance? Are there procedures that you perform that are generally outside of the realm of insurance? Do you charge for phone or email questions?

6. How long have you been practicing? What drew you to pediatrics?

7. If I have a question, do I call the office or email? Who is likely to respond, the desk staff, the nurse or the doctor? How long should I expect to wait for a non-emergency question to be answered?

8. How do you handle first time parents that can be a bit nervous and have many questions?

9.. What is your “well child” visit schedule?

10. How easy is it to get a same day appointment for a sick child?

11. Are there separate waiting rooms for sick and healthy children?

12. On a “normal” running day, is there usually a long wait or does the schedule run smoothly? How long should I schedule for a visit?

13. How do you feel about obtaining a second opinion?

14. Is the pediatrician part of a large network of specialists should your child need something beyond their realm of expertise, ie- allergies, childhood obesity, hearing problems?

A few other things you may want to keep an eye out for during the interview process:

*Does the desk staff seem organized and friendly?
*Does the waiting room appear clean?
*Are there toys in the waiting room? A pediatrician friend of mine said she does not leave toys in the waiting room since most kids put these in their mouths and it is impossible to clean them after each and every use.
*Does the office/examination room appear clean and organized?
*Did you get a good feel from the doctor?
*Was he/she attentive and answered your questions to their fullest or was he/she distracted by the on-goings of the office?

Remember these are just a few questions to help you feel out who you want to entrust your child’s healthcare to. If you do chose a certain practitioner and it turns out not to be the right relationship, you are not stuck with this person. There are plenty of fish in the sea!

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