Knowing When Its Time to Find a Pediatrician
Many parents make all the intensive decisions about choosing a pediatrician during pregnancy. Today we will cover briefly about finding a pediatrician.
You may interview doctors, go online and research statistics and listen to word of mouth advertising from friends and family members about which doctor is the best.
In the very beginning, they essentially make a hospital visit to discharge your baby and then see you in a week or so postpartum.
If you are lucky and your baby has no health problems, you will likely see the doctor several times over the first few months for immunizations and well checks.
What many parents find is that although your doctor visit is billed as though you saw an MD, you really spent all of your time with the nurses in the office.
Time marches on and things like the first fever, first cold or other odd and end illnesses will crop up. This is when things can get frustrating. You may call in the middle of the night only to get a nurse line who won’t call you back.
You may call first thing in the morning and be refused by the reception for an appointment leaving you in a fretful predicament. You also may make a sick appointment and be forced to wait hours on end because the staff overbooked the doctor.
The bottom line is you and your insurance company are paying the high salaries of the doctors that service YOU and YOU deserve their time! Not just a nurse who trained through an 8-month course!
It is natural to be concerned about your child’s health and your doctor should be the one answering your questions and treating you as though you are a special patient.
Certainly, they get tired of over-anxious, paranoid moms and dads worrying about every little rash or tear – but it is their job! The reason you turn to them is that you want their expertise.
If you knew all the answers you certainly wouldn’t need an appointment. Secondly, you may have concerns about immunizations or other “normal” courses of baby care and your doctor should hear you out.
They should be willing to explain the controversy and answer your questions rather than just shove a preprinted document in your diaper bag for you to consider at a later time.
There are some characteristics of a good doctor’s office that many parents realize years down the road. This list is what you should encounter at your pediatrician’s office: If you don’t consider shopping around.
- Sanitary conditions (Yes, rooms should be cleaned between patients) Did they Lysol the room?
- Nurses, doctors, and staff who sanitize their hands BEFORE touching your child. Hand sanitizer is not the answer, actual soap, and water hand washing.
- You never know what sort of infection their previous patient had. If they don’t wash, request that they do and make sure if they are wearing gloves that they put new ones on in front of you.
- Limited wait times! If staff is overbooking to turn a profit, you and your child are the ones suffering. The longer you sit in the waiting room, the more likely you are to catch something else.
- Night and weekend call lines that offer a real person to speak with. If you feel there is an emergency and need to speak to a doctor, you should be with a practice that will allow that. Doctors are on call!
- Your concerns should be taken seriously! If you feel your doctor or the nurses are treating you as though you are crazy, move on. Parents know their children better than doctors and are the first ones to spot potential problems.
- Weekend hours are a bonus. Many offer night clinics or Saturday hours.
- Well and sick waiting hours that are separated by more than a row of chairs.
- Clean waiting rooms. Have you ever seen a nurse or receptionist come out and clean the waiting room?
- Kid-friendly environment. Your child will be nervous enough and a good pediatrician uses a pleasing environment to distract children.
- You should never be asked to leave the room and no one should ever tell your two-year-old that they are misbehaving or “not being a big boy” for being fearful. The experience can be naturally frightening.
- They should accept your insurance and be willing to bill it. If they expect everything upfront, chances are they are more geared to Medicaid patients.
- They should have a close affiliation with a local hospital (with a pediatric unit) that is convenient for you.
- A good reputation from seasoned parents speaks volumes.
- You should be able to request seeing a specific doctor if desired.
Another thing to keep in mind is that although a PA or NP is great, there may be times when you wish to see an MD. You shouldn’t be forced to see a nurse practitioner.
In fact, your fees for seeing either of these physician assistants should be less than they would be should you have seen the doctor in the practice.
Check your insurance and explanation of benefits closely to make sure you and your insurance aren’t being overcharged. This can add up to millions for practices that bill incorrectly.
It is a fact that kids and pediatricians are two things that go together. Your experience at the doctor should be as pleasant as possible and you should leave feeling empowered to take better care of your child.
You should be able to get the information and service you need when you need it. If you aren’t sure about your doctor or feel as though your feelings and concerns are being put off, look around.
Check online and with your local better business bureau to find another pediatrician who will give you and your child the respect and service you deserve and pay for!