Picking your pediatrician can be a tough choice to make, but it’s a necessary one. Dr. Emilie Medalle from Lurie Children’s Primary Care – Town and Country Pediatrics answers questions regarding selecting the best caregiver for your child.
When should you start looking for a pediatrician?
Start looking for a pediatrician during pregnancy, or any time you relocate. Don’t be afraid to look for a new primary care physician if you aren’t happy with your doctor or their office. There isn’t a wrong time to start a search if you want to make a change.
Where do you start looking?
Start with your OB/GYN, who likely has working relationships with pediatricians. Another great place is friends and family. The people around you might have the best recommendations. Also consider convenience: How close is the office? What are their hours? How easy is it to get an appointment? It is also important to consider who is in network with your insurance plan.
Should the pediatrician have any specific qualifications?
The doctor you choose should be a graduate of an accredited medical or osteopathic school, with an MD. or a DO degree. S/he will have completed a pediatric residency and may be certified with the American Board of Pediatrics. Many pediatric offices also have nurse practitioners who are highly focused on pediatric patients and who work with the physicians in the office as a team; they are qualified to treat your child as well.
How will you know if you “click” with your pediatrician? What should you do if you don’t?
“Clicking” with a pediatrician means that both you and the physician have mutual respect and trust and are on the same page when it comes to your child’s healthcare. “Clicking” with a pediatrician is just like any other mutually beneficial relationship. If personalities clash, don’t be afraid to look for care elsewhere. Don’t worry about offending anyone, it’s most important that you’re comfortable with your provider. If you choose a group practice, there may be more than one provider whom you know and trust.
Do I choose a family physician or a pediatrician? Is one better than the other?
This is just personal preference. Neither is better than the other, both are equally qualified as doctors. An appropriately trained family physician is well-versed in pediatric care. I recommend choosing a physician who is associated with a hospital that provides excellent pediatric care.