Picking the right pediatrician
One of our colleagues is delightfully expecting her first baby and asked me for advice on picking a pediatrician. When I was on this hunt myself I turned to my sister, who is an OB/GYN in Oregon. I figured being a doctor who works with a lot of pediatricians, she could give me the signs to look for to find the right one. Her answer: She's really never met a bad pediatrician. They don't get into it for the money and they work longer hours than most doctors, answering questions from nervous new moms.
So what it really comes down to, in my opinion, is how well run the office is. Here's the questions I suggested my colleague ask:
--Do you have nurses who can answer a quick question during the day or even after hours for a new mom? Are calls for non-emergency questions encouraged? (This was a big one for me. I liked that I didn't feel embarrassed asking a dumb question.)
--How do you support a breastfeeding mom?
--What's your view on vaccines or delayed vaccinations? (I'm very pro-vax but I like to ask this question to see where they stand)
--Do you have any weekend hours? (Many practices do have a half day on Saturday which can be VERY helpful when a kid spikes a fever overnight)
I also suggested she go over any issues with the insurance company, if all their hospitals and offices are covered.
Some other features to look for that are nice, but not a deal breaker for me:
- A separate waiting room for newborns and their parents to keep away from those school-aged germ machines. I don't think it's a total necessity but it was nice, especially in those first few weeks before they've had all their vaccines.
- A way to email questions or a helpful website.
- Are there any subspecialties in the practice? One of the doctors at our kids' office is an expert on ADD, and another one is skilled at burning off warts, saving a trip to the dermatologist.
So how about you readers? What's your advice for an expectant mom in choosing a pediatrician?
Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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