Credentials and compatibility: 20 questions to think about while looking for a pediatrician
Finding a pediatrician to support your family over the years can be a big project. You want someone that knows what they’re doing, gets along with your kids and supports your parenting choices. Compatibility can be as important as credentials.
You might be seeing this doctor a lot over the years, so take some time during your first couple of visits to get to know who they are as a pediatrician and as a person. Here are 10 helpful questions for the doctor, and 10 for you.
10 questions to ask your potential pediatrician:
- What do you love about this job?
Get the doctor talking about why they got into pediatrics, and what’s keeping them there. If the doctor expresses a genuine passion for child medicine, you’ve made the right choice.
- Do you have any children?
Parenthood does not necessarily make a great pediatrician. But it doesn’t hurt. If the candidate does not have any children, they might bring up a beloved nephew, niece or godchild. What’s important is that your doctor understands how you feel about your child. That fierce, enormous love is difficult to communicate. The doctor who’s felt it too might be the best one to work with.
- How long have you been working here? What’s special about this practice?
This is an opportunity for the doctor to describe the organization they work with. You'll get a feel for how much experience they have, and what kind of support system they are working within.
- Are you a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics?
You can check the list of American Academy of Pediatrics to see who's a member in your area. You can also run names through your state's medical board to check for any disciplinary action.
- Do you have any subspecialties or areas of interest?
Ask the doctor about their specialties and interests within medicine. This question may lead to some insight into how much post-med school learning this doctor has. A great doctor likes to stay in the know about new research and developments in medicine.
- What are your views on …?
Everyone and their mother (especially their mother!) has an opinion about children’s health. There are a handful of hot topics which your doctor may have a specific medical opinion on. (Antibiotics, childhood obesity, breastfeeding, vaccinations, etc.) These opinions are likely to influence your child’s care. Bring up the topics that are important to you with your pediatrician. Hearing their point of view and the reasoning behind it can give you a great picture of how a doctor thinks.
- How can I reach you if my child gets sick after hours?
Think ahead to when you'll need this doctor most. That might be in the middle of the night with a fussy, feverish kid on your hip. Ask what your options are for getting in touch with your pediatrician in moments like those.
- How do you handle emergencies?
Ask how they handle emergencies and questions. Is the clinic affiliated with a hospital? Do they accommodate walk-in visits?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
You may be seeing this doctor on a regular basis for the next 18 years. They will play an important role in your family. Get to know them a bit as person
- Are there any parenting books or other resources do you recommend on baby or child care?
This question can provide you with helpful resources, and will tell you more about how your doctor thinks.
10 Questions to ask yourself:
- Do the clinic’s location and hours work for you?
- Do they take your insurance?
- Is the facility clean?
- Is the waiting room pleasant and kid-friendly?
- Are the staff and nurses helpful and patient?
- Is parking available?
- How long did you have to wait before seeing the doctor?
- Does the doctor welcome questions?
- Do you like the doctor's communication style?
- Do you and your child feel comfortable with the doctor?