I simply looked at degrees, was the staff friendly, and did the office have accommodating hours, etc. This is the checklist that most every online source will tell you to go through, but they are leaving out the really important things. I am here to share that after working with a few pediatricians over the years, some good, some not-so-much, I have gleaned some insight that would have been invaluable those first few years when I had no idea what I was doing.
Here are some secrets you should think about before trying to interview, yes I did say interview, your new care provider.
Many of us don’t truly think about our medical care in this manner but it is a fact. Whether you have private insurance, you pay out of pocket, use assistance, or some other means, you are choosing who gets the dough. If you can look at it as you are hiring a professional to provide guidance and expertise that you don’t have... the necessity of choosing well is infinitely clearer.
For instance, if you were building a house you wouldn’t just choose the first architect you found advertised, this is someone who will be building the place your family will call home so you would do a lot to find a good fit. We often don’t think this way when choosing our medical professionals but they too have such an important job that we need to think about if they are worth “hiring.”
First off....what kind of parent are you?
This may seem like a very silly question but it is incredibly important in your choice of a pediatrician. You really need to take stock in your own personality, your intuition, and your driving factors.
Are you the kind of person who likes to clearly learn and understand what is going on, or do you just prefer to be told what to do with a checklist to mark off? Do you like to be able to give input or do you just prefer to be told what to do? Do you want the parent/provider relationship to be one of authority, one of mutual cooperation, one of teacher/student, or a mix of some of these types of relationships?
Also, how confident are you in your own abilities and gut instincts?
How do you view the pediatrician’s role?
Do you view the role of your child’s doctor to be that of complete authority on your child (keeping in mind that they are experts in their field, but not experts about your individual child).
Do you view the role as that of educator, one that should teach you, or one that should also value your input?
Once you have identified the role you want the pediatrician to play it is time for the hunt. Most offices and doctors will tell you that they are a mix of the types of doctors mentioned above; however, my experience has been that there is always a dominating characteristic...authoritarian; companion, educator and that definitely will influence how you receive your pediatrician’s information.
Hiring your child’s pediatrician may take time
You are seeking someone to provide guidance and knowledge for an extended contract ,therefore, a simple one time visit may not be sufficient. It is more ideal to actually plan that the first few visits are still part of the process. You can go to a few well child visits before making your ultimate decision, no harm done. If you go to a visit and start to see characteristics you don’t like or the relationship doesn’t feel comfortable, simply make your next appointment elsewhere and ask for your records to be transferred.
Ideally, whatever your philosophy, your pediatrician should hear what you are saying and value your input in your child’s health care plan. Your doctor sees your child in small increments, 20 minutes or so, but you see your child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You know your child.
The bottom line is when the time comes that your child is really sick, requires a surgery or hospital stay of any kind, you want to be sure you have the right pediatrician coordinating your care.