Don’t underestimate how important it is to find a great pediatrician to treat your kids. It can be a life or death choice if an unexpected emergency occurs. That being said, the best pediatrician for someone else might not be the right match for you.
When you look for a life partner, you look for someone who shares your values, supports you when things are hard, is available to you when you need them, and you can put up with the in-laws. Much like finding your soulmate, you’ll be happiest when you find a doctor who supports your decisions, helps you be the best parent you can, and one whose office staff you can tolerate.
Long distance relationships are hard
It’s worth driving a reasonable distance for better care, but don’t commit to an inconveniently located doctor’s office. There will be times you’ll need to see the doctor urgently, but you won’t want to drive a long way with a sick, crying child.
If there is an excellent doctor who is somewhat out of your way, consider choosing an urgent care office or family doctor who you can see for minor visits, and save the pediatrician for planned visits.
You don’t marry one person; you marry the whole family
The staff is a crucial part of a great medical practice for your child. The front desk, nursing staff, and billing department will determine how quickly you are seen and what your experience is like outside of the fifteen minutes you spend with the doctor.
Find a pediatrician who is responsive to your phone calls and returns them promptly, and is available when you must get in for a visit. Some offices, like this pediatrician in Salt Lake City, Utah, use a patient portal where you can access your information and make appointment requests at any time of day or night.
You must have core values in common
If medicine didn’t call for opinions, you could trust everything you see on the Internet or see a robot doctor. There is room for interpretation in medicine, so finding a well-educated, up-to-date doctor that you trust is important.
As a parent, you’ll have opinions about where your child should sleep, whether or not to use a pacifier, or whether to sleep train your infant. Look for a doctor who supports your choices, but is willing to challenge you on decisions where you need expert guidance.
Choose a partner who will be honest even when you don’t like it
Advances over time cause doctors to update their opinions about procedures. For example, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) changed its recommendations on newborn male circumcision several times in the last century as medical advancements changed their perspective.
When you search for the right pediatrician for your family, you want one who will consistently provide an accurate, unbiased opinion based on the latest medical information and your child’s unique health profile.
Looking for Dr. Right
The right pediatrician will help you when you’re scared, will encourage you when things seem hard, and cheer your successes. You want to find a partner that you trust, who will do their part of staying up to date on medical developments and being a health consultant. This partnership will work best if you respect their opinion, trust them to do their research, and can depend on them in times of need.