It is 9 p.m. on a Sunday and the entire house is on red alert thanks to the dulcet tones of the croup. A child is barking, the dog is cowering, parents are frantically searching for acetaminophen, and everyone – everyone – is miserable.
Hopefully you have your children’s healthcare provider on speed dial. But when you call, who will answer?
For parents, our children are the world. Finding a reliable and reputable pediatrician with whom we feel comfortable entrusting their health and well-being is no small feat.
Just like kids, though, no two doctors are exactly alike, and methods, materials, and bedside manner will inevitably vary from practice to practice.
When searching for your children’s healthcare provider, consider the following six factors.
- Qualifications – You don’t need a Ph.D. to figure this one out. Your child’s doctor should have the required training to practice medicine. Your pediatrician should have completed training at an accredited medical school, and have a three-year residency in pediatrics. must pass a series of exams beyond what is required for a medical license that they will routinely retake. Prospective patients might also check to see if their pediatrician belongs to the . The designation of FAAP (Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics) shows that the doctor not only adheres to the academy’s guidelines, but is also board certified.
- Comfort – Competence is critical. Communication, however, is also a key factor to a successful doctor-patient relationship. Your children’s healthcare provider will essentially treat them during their formative years up until – and often throughout – high school. You should not only have confidence in your pediatrician, but also an easy rapport that fosters trust and an open dialogue.
- Availability – During what hours and on what days does your child’s doctor treat patients? Does he or she offer weekend hours? Many pediatricians work within a group practice. Inquire about the likelihood of being seen and treated by your pediatrician of choice during office visits. You should also know who will be on-call after the office has closed for the day.
- Admitting privileges – Your pediatrician is your child’s advocate throughout the medical system. For that reason, it is important to understand to what hospitals your doctor has admitting privileges should a need arise.
- Location – When your child is sick, a short drive to the doctor’s office can be a godsend.
- The waiting room – Prior to choosing a pediatrician, you might consider visiting their office to simply observe. Is the waiting area clean and organized? Is there ample seating? Toys and books? Hand sanitizer at the ready? Are those manning the desk cordial and prompt? How does the staff – doctors, nurses, support – communicate with each other? The waiting room experience can often serve as a microcosm of your pediatric relationship at-large.
When searching for a children’s healthcare provider, referrals from friends and colleagues with similar interests and needs can also go a long way in helping you make an informed and confident choice.
KinderMender offers three convenient locations in Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Laurel, and its providers believe that good health care means more than just writing a prescription. To make an appointment, call 443-492-4000.