Interview Questions for a New Pediatrician
By Sarah Lyons
Beginning the search for a pediatrician can be very intimidating. Most parents find their child’s doctor through recommendations of friends, but how do you know if the doctor will be a good fit for you family? “No two children are the same and what works for one might not necessarily work for another one,” says Jane Vazquez, mom of a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old from Jackson. “I would look for someone that respects and considers our opinions as parents and the individual set of needs of each child.” It is wise to set up an interview with the doctor to make sure that it is a good fit for you and your children. Here are some questions to ask to help you narrow your options.
Is the doctor certified by the American Board of Pediatrics? This means the doctor has passed a specialized test in pediatrics. If you choose a family doctor, ask if the doctor is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Family doctors are trained to treat patients of all ages, including children, but they do not have a specialty in pediatrics.
A great question to start with is “Tell me a little about yourself.” With this question the doctor should tell you how long they have been in practice, if they have their own children, and other pertinent information about their practice.
What is their view on parenting? For example, do you have similar views on attachment parenting, breastfeeding, circumcision, and vaccinations? Make sure your parenting styles are a good match. Discuss any other areas that are specifically important to your child’s needs. “Making sure your values line up with your pediatrician is crucial to developing the relationship supporting a healthy child,” says pediatrician, Dr. Amanda Penny, from Children’s Medical Group. “Some families may want to treat at home prior to being seen in the office. Other families may prefer to come in at the first sign of illness. These priorities can be addressed in the prenatal or first visit with your pediatrician.”
While speaking with the doctor, observe whether he appears to be rushed or distracted.
Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor? Does your child?
“Communication style is very important to a healthy relationship,” says Dr. Penny. “Ensuring you can understand and communicate well with your pediatrician provides the foundation needed to grow a productive relationship.”
Questions about the practice
Do they take your insurance?
Is the doctor part of a practice?
Will you see this particular doctor or one of his associates when your child has a sick visit?
What are the office hours? Walk-in hours?
How are emergencies handled?
What tests are handled on site? Where are other tests done?
What hospital would your child be admitted to if needed?
How long does a typical check-up last?
Observe the office
Is the office conveniently located? How close is it to your home, work, school, or daycare?
Take note of whether the staff is friendly and helpful.
Is the office clean and inviting?
Does the waiting room have toys and books?
Are there separate waiting areas for sick and well patients?
Do other patients seem to be waiting for a long time?
Is parking convenient?
Choosing the right pediatrician for your children is an important decision. These questions should help you narrow your search and find a doctor that is a good fit for your family.
Sarah Lyons is a busy mom of six kids, including 5-year-old triplets. She spends a lot of time at the pediatrician’s office.