Every parent dreams of the perfect doctor for their child—someone willing to answer every question with patience and grace while simultaneously providing gentle, friendly, and even fun healthcare. Trying to find "the perfect pediatrician" is often a difficult process for new parents. There is so much to consider. Where and how do you begin your search?
Understanding how doctors become pediatricians is a good place in which to begin your quest. Specialists in pediatrics spend at least three years studying children's health problems. Many then devote additional years to studying a specific area of pediatrics such as heart, lung, or endocrine problems.
Why a Pediatrician?
Making the decision as to which type of specialist to use is truly a personal one for parents," explains Dr. Bernadette S. Haggerty, a pediatrician on staff with Texas Children's Pediatric Associates in The Woodlands, Texas. "However, there are differences between pediatricians and family practitioners, and it is important that you determine what factors are most significant to your family before choosing your child's doctor."
Parents should keep in mind that pediatric specialists have more extensive training in and experience with children's health issues than any other type of doctor. However, over half of all children in many areas of the nation receive their routine care from someone other than a pediatrician. Family practitioners and nurse practitioners are capable of caring for the common healthcare needs of children, but because children tend to visit doctors far more often than adults, choosing a pediatrician over a family doctor can be quite beneficial.
The Search Process
Insider recommendations from someone working in healthcare remain the fastest and best way to find a good pediatrician. Try calling the nursery or delivery room at your local birthing center or hospital and ask for a few recommendations. Combine these recommendations and resources with the experiences of other parents who have taken their children to recommended doctors.