Values and Approach Factors:
It's important that you find a doctor whose medical approach is consistent with your own values. Think about your own philosophies about medicine. Are you someone who likes aggressive medical intervention or someone more conservative about treatment? For example, when treating ear infections some doctors are quick to prescribe antibiotics, while others are more likely to 'wait and see' if the infection clears itself.
- Is the doctor conservative or aggressive in treatment?
- What are her views on certain medical issues such as infections, stem cell collection, breastfeeding, vaccinations, circumcision, allergies, etc.? How do these views compare with your own?
- What is the doctor's approach to caring for a new infant? Are they consistent with your own? For example, some doctors prefer that an infant stay home for three months after birth while others think a month is sufficient.
- Can she explain her approach to pediatric medicine in general? How do you feel about her answers?
Basic Knowledge and Experience:
- How long has the doctor been in practice? How old or young is the doctor? There may be comfort in a doctor who has been in practice for many years and has much experience, but a younger doctor may be more up to date in new approaches and technology.
- What is her training? Where did she study and do her residency?
- Does the doctor have children of her own? Some parents might take comfort knowing a doctor has personal parenting experience.
- If there are any specific conditions or allergies in your family, what is the doctor's knowledge of these?
You should view your pediatrician as your partner and advisor, and use her as a resource. As the parent, you remain primarily responsible for helping your child stay healthy; however, you must have confidence in your child's doctor if the partnership is to work. If you don't have confidence in your doctor, and discussing the issues does not alleviate your concern, find another doctor.
In all likelihood, you will probably not find a doctor who answers every single question exactly as you would have liked. So then you need to make an assessment based on your chemistry with her and trust. If something about the doctor rubs you the wrong way, this may not be the doctor for you and your child. If you walk away feeling as though you have "clicked" with the pediatrician, that's a great sign.