As new parents, one of the most challenging things we will do is choose a doctor for our children. We worry that choosing the wrong doctor will have lasting effects on our children. The good news is that in most cases, this is simply not true. Most of the time, if we make the wrong choice, it just means that we need to make a different choice. However, disastrous things could occur if you don’t make changes as soon as you suspect you have chosen incorrectly. So, to minimize the risk of choosing the wrong physician, we have developed some questions and considerations you should make when choosing your child’s doctor.

What Kind of Doctor Do You Want? 

There are dozens of specialties, and medical professionals are available to treat the needs of your child. There are some considerations when choosing the specialty or type of doctor your child will see. First, you need to decide if they will see a family practitioner or a pediatric specialist. There are many benefits to either medical professional. Children who see a family physician will not need to change physicians in adulthood. This doctor can follow the child throughout his or her life. However, a pediatrician is specially trained to deal only with infants and children. Family physicians may send your child to more specialists because they have less experience with children.

Additionally, you will have to choose between medical doctors (MDs), physician’s assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), and Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs). Each of these professionals is required to spend many years in training and have different backgrounds. PAs and NPs work under the guidance of MDs and DOs. The main difference between a medical doctor and a doctor of osteopathy is that osteopathic doctors tend to incorporate both homeopathic and scientific medical treatment. 

Where Do You Want to Go? 

What city or town do you want to travel to for medical care. For some areas, their choice of physician is limited. For others, there seem to be a million doctors in a one-mile radius. You may need to travel to see a qualified physician. You will also need to decide which hospital is preferred. Many cities have more than one hospital available. As a matter of fact, eight hospitals lie just on Oregon’s coastline. You have to choose which hospital is best for your family. You do not want to choose a physician’s office with no contact with the hospital you prefer. 

Bedside Manner

While you want a brilliant physician, take it from a parent, you do not want to sacrifice bedside manner. Rude or abrupt physicians may have excellent medical knowledge, but their pills are often harder to swallow. Don’t make yourself unhappy for the sake of an intelligent person. 

Knowledge

While bedside manner is important, knowledge shouldn’t be forgotten. You need to feel that the doctor you are seeing is competent and can treat your child. It’s vital if your child has any special needs or unique situations. For instance, a doctor with no experience with children with spina bifida probably isn’t as familiar with their unique medical challenges and needs. On the other hand, a physician recently out of school/ completed residency might have the most up-to-date information. 

Teamwork

Even a smart, kind doctor can drop the ball on working as a team. You have to make sure that the doctor you choose is ready to include you in your child’s treatment and medical team. Even healthy children need parents and doctors to work together. Children spend most of their first months with their parents. Parental concerns should be the doctor’s top priority. Children need to have the best care possible. As a parent, I know that you want to be taken seriously when you are concerned. 

Interview

You should interview the doctor before committing to their office. Some offices will allow parents to make an interview appointment to get to know the doctor ahead of time. Other offices may require that to be done at new patient appointments. Talk to your health insurance provider. They may allow you to change providers as often as you like. In the beginning, you might have to make changes for the first few appointments. 

Ask Friends and Family

You are probably not the only person in your circle with a new baby on the way. Even if you are, you can search the online reviews of local physicians. Some reviews should be ignored. The ones that sound like the doctor’s mom or cousin wrote them should probably be ignored. Additionally, reviews that are angry because the reviewer wanted a demand appointment at 530 on a Friday are probably unreasonable. 

Child’s Needs

Your child may have additional needs that require more supervision than a typical child. You need to consider doctors’ offices with easy contact after hours or are well connected with specialists. You may not be aware of your child’s needs before birth, so it may change the choices you make after your child arrives. 

Final Thoughts

There are dozens of things that you should consider when choosing a doctor for your baby. You should consider all of your and your child’s needs. You are planning to be with this doctor for at least eighteen years. Make sure that they are good physicians and good listeners. You should not feel guilty about changing your mind if your child’s needs change.

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