A pediatrician is someone who’s going to be a part of your child’s life for many, many years.
During that time, you’ll have dozens of appointments and get expert guidance on virtually every matter concerning your child’s health. In fact, the pediatrician will even help other medical professionals serve your child better as they know everything about your little one.
So, to say that choosing the right pediatrician is important would be an understatement.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to see if your pediatrician is a good fit, and none of it involves getting a medical degree!
The best way to ensure a good fit is to interview multiple pediatricians in your community before making a final decision. Everything revolves around the interview here, and the key to a great interview is in asking the right questions.
To help you do that, we’ve prepared six critical questions you must always get a satisfactory answer to before making a commitment.
1. Are you a certified member of the American Board of Pediatrics (AAP)?
Any pediatrician who isn’t certified by the AAP is not worth considering because they haven’t passed the specialized exam in child healthcare.
We recommend going with doctors who are not only certified by the AAP but also have the initials “FAAP” after their names. It means that they’re a member of the APP as they’ve met established standards for providing child healthcare.
2. Are you part of a group practice?
Would you rather have a pediatrician who practices solo or works in a group?
If you want to go with a solo practitioner, find out who covers for them when they’re away. And if you prefer a doctor in a group practice, ask about the background of the other members.
Most group practices have several pediatric nurses, and some of them even have a Master’s degree in Pediatric Nursing on top of specialized training.
3. Are you a pediatric generalist or do you have a subspecialty?
Since pediatrics is a broad field that covers every aspect of children’s health, it’s impossible for pediatricians to be experts in everything.
That’s why most pediatricians are generalists with a necessary but limited understanding of many areas of children’s healthcare.
That said, some pediatricians also have a subspecialty that allows them a basic understanding of many areas, along with deeper knowledge and experience in a specialty area. Some examples of these subspecialties include developmental-behavioral pediatrics, child abuse pediatrics, and adolescent medicine.
It’s always a good idea to pick a pediatrician who has a subspecialty that aligns with the particular needs of your child.
4. What parenting books do you recommend?
Do you have a favorite parenting book? If not, it’s time to start reading until you find some that resonate with you in terms of the ideal approach to parenting.
Once you’ve found your favorites, ask every pediatrician for their recommendations to find out which parenting approach they consider best.
Doing so will confirm whether you’re on the same page as to how a child should be raised.
5. How long have you been in practice?
Qualifications are just the starting point for a pediatrician. What separates the best is their level of experience. While there are always going to be exceptions, the pediatrician with a lot of experience is going to be better than someone who doesn’t.
That’s because they can always lean on past cases to predict the best approach for your child’s condition. Someone without the field experience won’t be able to do this, at least not to the same degree.
Now, that’s not to say that you should base your decision solely on the years of experience someone has. That’s never a good idea. But you should keep experience in mind as a plus point.
6. Do you accept my insurance?
Last but not least, ask the pediatrician whether they accept your insurance. If they don’t but you believe they’re still a perfect fit, then figure out a way to pay them before signing any deal.
Besides asking those six questions, we recommend making some simple observations during your first visit to the pediatrician. Things like how long you had to wait, did the doctor greet you and your child, and whether the interaction went well throughout the appointment.
If the interaction left you or your child feeling uncomfortable, that’s a big sign that your search is not over yet.