How To Select A Doctor For Your Baby
You should feel completely comfortable with the physician you choose for your infant. You’ll be relying upon this person for expert health care advice, information regarding specific conditions, and support when your little one is sick. You may need to call the doctor at 3:00 a.m. if your baby’s health is particularly worrisome. This person must be able to offer the help your infant needs, and direct you to specialists when the need arises.
Knowledge and experience with babies may not be enough. New moms and dads often find that a caring attitude is just as important. With this in mind, we’ll present a few guidelines below for choosing a pediatrician. If possible, start the search before your infant arrives.
Seeking Referrals From Those You Trust
One of the best resources for recommendations is your network of friends and family. Speak with those who have had babies, and share your views regarding what a physician should offer. They can steer you to pediatricians in whom their trust and faith were well-placed. Your friends and family can also warn you about doctors who failed to meet their expectations.
Another resource is your obstetrician. He or she can make qualified recommendations, based on past patients’ comments. This may be less reliable than the experiences shared by your friends and family, but still valuable.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Physician
Realize that the person referring you to a particular pediatrician may not share all of your views regarding what constitutes a good physician. For example, some people consider a warm attitude less important than experience. Others may be more or less concerned than you about the professionalism of the staff. Given this, it’s worth digging more deeply to uncover the details you need to make an informed decision.
For example, ask the person who is offering the referral whether the physician is patient, and encourages clients to ask questions. Ask whether the staff is responsive and warm. Are they willing to help when problems occur? Find out whether the pediatrician likes spending time with babies and kids. This may seem to be a foregone conclusion, but many doctors simply go through the motions, waiting until they can retire.
Ask about appointments. Is it relatively easy to see the doctor? How far in advance must you make an appointment? And once you are meeting with the physician, will a dialogue be encouraged, or will you be hurried out of the office?
These questions will prove helpful in ruling out pediatricians who are unable (or unwilling) to offer the level of care you seek for your baby.
Narrowing The List
Depending on the number of referrals you’ve received, you may need to whittle down the list. Find out which pediatricians have offices nearest your home, so you’ll have quick and easy access to them. Also, call each office, and ask whether they have openings for new patients. Many doctors are overloaded.
Once you’ve pared down your list of potential physicians, call the remaining offices and request an appointment. This is in preparation for the last step.
The Last, Critical Step: The Interview
In order to know for certain whether any given doctor is caring and professional, you’ll need to meet him or her in person. This gives you a chance to gain a better grasp of their approach and values. For example, ask the physician whether she welcomes questions via email. Will she see your baby personally most of the time, or does her staff handle most of the work?
Now is good time to learn more about how the doctor’s practice operates. Ask about office hours, and how emergencies are handled. Find out about appointments, including how far in advance they need to be made, and whether priority is given to ill infants. Ask about billing procedures.
Finding a reliable, trustworthy, and caring pediatrician is a matter of doing a bit of research. Use the steps above to select a physician who offers the level of care your baby needs.
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