How to Choose a Pediatrician
All parents want the best for their children, and this includes providing them with the best in health care services. Choosing a pediatrician should be done carefully, and there are certain criteria that need to be followed. Not all pediatricians are the same. If you look around forums and blogs, there are countless stories of doctors not treating children well, or are just plain incompetent. It would be very helpful to take your time in finding the best doctor for your child.
So What Should You Look for in a Pediatrician?
First thing you should determine is if you need a doctor that has certain specializations. The doctor can be a Holistic Pediatrician or a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, Behavioral, etc. Knowing the needs of your children will help in finding the perfect doctor that is best for them. Of course you might not know exactly what your child will end up needing, and you might very well be referred to someone else with a different specialty, but having a basic understanding on the different specializations can certainly help
The Child’s Needs
Once you have an idea of the needs of your child and what kind of pediatrician might be best for them, it is time to look around. The best way is to look for first hand referrals from family and friends that you trust. Most people will not hesitate in sharing their experiences with doctors. Parents can be passionate about the experiences of their children, and they will tell you everything about experiences with doctors. Try to look specific information on why they liked the doctor or not. The other factors outlined below can be good points to ask when doing your research.
If you do not have friends or family that can refer a good pediatrician, you can always look online. A great site that contains doctor reviews is healthgrades.com. They have a huge list of doctors that can be sorted by location and specialty. If for example you are from Edison NJ, just put that in the location text box and you will see all the doctors within close proximity of that area. What is great about this site is that actual users provide the ratings of the doctors and they tell any information worth knowing about the doctors. Of course you can also do a search on Google and you will find thousands of forums that will give you information about recommended doctors and doctors to avoid in your area.
Qualities of a Good Pediatrician
Treating children is a lot different than treating adults. There are a lot more crying, tantrums and other episodes that only a child can bring. Children are also unable to relay information as good as adults, so asking them questions like what do they feel, does it hurt here, can be next to impossible. Just try to pass by a full pediatric clinic and you’ll see that it can be a stressful environment. A good child doctor knows how to deal with kids. There are pediatricians that are obviously fond of children, even during tantrums. They also have a certain skill when it comes to communicating with children, and this is very important in gathering information, or just simply to calm them down. Usually pediatricians with more children are better at handling kids.
Aside from being patient with kids, a good pediatrician should also be patient with the parents. The doctor should be respectful of parenting styles. Of course they should also recommend best practices, but doctors should be mindful of the preferences of the parents. For instance, if the mother might prefer to use formula but the doctor is strictly for breastfeeding, the doctor can tell her the benefits of breastfeeding, but at the same time should be respectful of the mother’s decisions and preferences.
On the other hand, the doctor should also be patient with the different concerns of the parents. This is true especially in the case of first time parents. First timers have a ton of questions, and sometimes is what might be obvious to the doctor or to other experienced parents might not be too obvious to them.
There are doctors who provide a personal mobile number to their clients. A small number of doctors do this. Most doctors do not want to be called on outside of clinic hours. If you can find a pediatrician who is willing to provide you with their mobile so they can be contacted anytime, then you might have found yourself a great doctor. Of course you will still have to respect the privacy and the time off of the doctor, but it is comforting to know that you have someone to call in case of emergencies with this kids.
Proximity of the doctor’s clinic to your home or to your child’s school is also a big factor. With kids you will never know when you will need to run them to the doctor. If the doctor is within a facility with an emergency clinic such as in a hospital then that is even better.
The health and well being of your children depends greatly on the pediatrician that you choose for them. It is important to take the time and effort in finding the best pediatrician for your kids. If your current doctor is unable to fulfill the needs of your child, do not be shy in looking for another doctor. Sometimes there just might not be that synergy in the relationship between the doctor and your child. With the internet and social media, it is far easier nowadays to look for the best pediatrician for your children.