Choosing a pediatrician is part and parcel of laying the foundation for your child to live a healthy, happy, and productive life all the way into adulthood. Your pediatrician is your medical partner, who will be with you to help you navigate crucial decisions about your child’s health and care.
Like any other relationship, the one you have with your pediatrician needs chemistry. You will be working with them in the next 18 years, or even longer if you plan to have more than one child. It’s worth taking the time to find someone who not only has the skills and experience but also one you can click with— whom you find comfortable talking to about sensitive subjects about your child, and who is genuinely invested in your child’s health and well-being.
However, with the tens of thousands of practicing pediatricians in the United States, finding the right one can be challenging. Here are some ways you can streamline your search for the right pediatrician and make it a lot easier.
Starting Your Search Early
If you’re in the home stretch of your pregnancy, consider seeing a pediatrician already. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends this as a crucial first step in ensuring your baby has the healthiest possible start.
You may also be asked to provide information about your pediatrician when you check in to deliver your baby in a birth center or hospital. Finding one early is also an essential part of getting adequately prepared for the arrival of your child.
Doing Your Homework
You can start your search by asking the people you trust for recommendations: your family, friends, relatives, and/or people you work with. They may know of good ones they’ve been working with, who they can recommend to you.
Once you’ve drawn up a list of potential candidates, search for their names on the Internet. There are a number of reliable resources you can use. HealthyChildren.org, for example, has a tool that can help you find a pediatrician. You can just type in the last name of the pediatrician or your zip code. You can use the tool either to verify if the pediatrician is an AAP member (there should be “FAAP” initials after their name) or search for one near you.
Working with a pediatrician who is an FAAP, or a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics essentially means you’re working with a medical professional who:
- Is an advocate for your child and family;
- Keeps abreast of the latest advances in pediatrics;
- Is committed to lifelong learning.
It also helps to consider the online reputation of the pediatrician. Read reviews and any other relevant information about them (e.g., number of years they are in practice, etc.) before deciding to see them in person.
Arranging a “Get-to-Know-You” Session
There’s no better way to ascertain that the pediatrician is a good match for your family than to meet with them in person.
In-person visits help you find out about the services the pediatrician provides, their office culture, wait times, the doctor’s bedside manner, among other important things. They also help you assess the pediatrician’s ability to build good rapport and make children look forward to their visits.
Pay attention to how they answer your questions: if they take the time to explain things thoroughly and in a way you perfectly understand. If you feel comfortable talking to them and confident in the care they provide, they might be just be the one you’re looking for.
Trusted Pediatricians in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase and Lutz, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, our board-certified pediatricians maintain the highest levels of accreditations and constantly strive to provide the families in the communities we serve with exceptional-quality and compassionate care. Partnering with one of our pediatricians means your family is under the care of a medical professional who will walk alongside you and equip you with all the tools and resources necessary to give your child a head start in life.
To schedule a consultation with one of our pediatricians, call our office near you: Palm Harbor office- (727) 787-6335, Westchase office- (813) 891-6501, Trinity office- (727) 376-8404, or Lutz office- (813) 751-3131.