How to interview a pediatrician
It is time to pick a pediatrician and some of your friends have mentioned interviewing their pediatricians or attending prenatal visits. So I guess you might as well meet a few yourself and see how it goes, but then you wonder, "What kind of things do I even look for or ask about?" I have been doing prenatal visits and interviews for almost 10 years now and these are some of the questions I have been asked:
- What kind of cleaning products do you use and are they organic?
- Do you have a separate waiting room for well versus sick visits?
- Do you have children?
- Do you have weekend hours?
- What if we have a question in the middle of the night?
- What are your thoughts on sleep training?
- What is the average wait time to be seen?
- How accessible are you?
One item to think about is the hot topic of vaccinations. Is your pediatrician comfortable if you want to do an alternative vaccine schedule or to not even vaccinate at all? It is a two way street. Will he or she even accept new patients who do not follow the standard vaccine schedule? Or, one that is especially important to me, is can your child be seen for a sick visit the same day you call for the appointment? You can't predict when your child will get sick because children of course can be unpredictable. They can be fine all day, but then have ear discharge and pain at 3 p.m., and then at that point it would be somewhat of a bummer to learn that the next available appointment is a week from then. I remember that after my daughter presented with five days of fever (yes, I'm one of those types that waits and waits and waits it out), I did call my pediatrician and I had an appointment made for an hour later. It made me feel very happy they accommodated us last minute.
In the end, there is always the good old fashioned word of mouth. Who do your friends see and are they happy? Word of mouth has served me well over the years, as well as the seven second rule. Studies have shown that you get an overall impression or feel of a person within the first seven seconds you meet them. Does this pediatrician make you feel comfortable? Because your pediatrician kind of becomes an extended family member and your confidante in some ways. You see this person frequently in the first two years of your child's life, and you grow together as your child ages. Right now, my partner Dr. Gmoser, is starting to take care of the children of his patients from over 30 years ago. I digress, but this is one of the reasons why I became a pediatrician myself, to form connections with families.
I wish you the best of luck in finding the right pediatrician for you!