More on choosing a paediatrician for your child
How do I choose a paediatrician for my child?
It’s best to choose a paediatrician well before the birth of your child as this will give you ample time to make an informed decision. So try to compile a list of candidates at least 4 months before your due date.
Your obstetrician is a great person to start with as this group of specialists work closely with paediatricians. Usually, your obstetrician would already have assigned a paediatrician to care for your baby from the time of birth.
If you want to find out more about who is going to look after your newborn, ask your obstetrician for details so you can do some research on the appointed paediatrician.
Hospital websites are also a good resource.
The Mount Elizabeth Hospital website, for example, lists a directory of doctors. It contains a trove of information such as the doctors’ credentials, area(s) of expertise, the type of training they received, as well as the number of years of experience. The website even allows you to make an appointment with your preferred doctor.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are useful too. Ask friends and family for names of doctors they have had good experiences with.
Check out online mummy groups and parenthood forums to find out other parents’ experiences with paediatricians, and look for any negative reviews.
These are some questions you may want to ask:
- How does your child respond to the doctor?
- How is your doctor’s behaviour and attitude toward your child?
- What do you like or not like about the doctor?
- Does the doctor welcome questions, and does he or she take time to discuss problems and to listen to your concerns?
- How long do you usually have to wait to see the doctor?
- Do they send you reminders about important matters such as your child’s vaccination dates?
Answers to the above questions will help you to narrow down your options and lead to a more informed decision.
I’ve found a paediatrician I like – Now what?
Are there any other nagging questions that you still do not have an answer to, or issues you feel strongly about? An expatriate mother, for instance, may want to follow the vaccination schedule of another country.
You could also be a mother who believes in alternative and complementary medicine, and would like a doctor who does not entirely disregard such therapy. Try contacting the doctor to find out his or her views on such issues.
If cost is a concern, be sure to find out the doctor’s consultation charges too. If your child is covered by medical insurance, find out if the doctor can accept it.
When you make an appointment with the doctor, find out if there are any medical documents you need to bring for the first consultation.
Finally you may want to do a background check on the doctor. A simple Google search will to help you find out if he or she has a disciplinary or criminal record.
My first meeting with the doctor: What should I ask or look out for?
While some may feel a bit intimidated to ask a doctor questions, do remember that this person will be looking after your child’s health. So go armed with questions related to topics that may be of interest to you.
Here are some things you could look out for and observe during your first meeting:
- How does the doctor behave towards your child? Does he/she try to put your child at ease?
- How does your child behave around the doctor?
- Is the doctor patient with you and is he/she willing to answer and questions you might have?
- What is parking like at the clinic?
- What is the waiting time like?
- Is the clinic child-friendly (e.g. check for nursing/changing rooms, receptionist’s attitude towards kids)?
Do keep in mind that a child’s health can be unpredictable and accidents and emergencies are also very possible occurrences. With this in mind, be sure to ask the following:
- How do I reach you after hours or during an emergency?
- To which hospitals do you admit patients?
- If I can’t speak with you, who will answer my questions?
What should I do if I’m not happy with the paediatrician I chose?
As uncomfortable as it may be, talk to the doctor about your concerns. If the problem cannot be resolved or if your worries are not addressed, do not hesitate to make a switch.
At the end of the day, you need a paediatrician you can count on who both you and your child feel comfortable with, and who you can talk to when it comes to the very important matter of your baby’s health.
You can find a paediatrician by visiting the following websites:
What did you do when it was time to choose a paediatrician for your child? Share your tips with us by leaving a comment!