Picking a pediatrician isn’t as straightforward as one might expect and, in fact, can be one of the more frustrating items on the pre-baby checklist (or post-baby checklist, if you’re a procrastinator like me). Does he come highly recommended? Is she in-network? Are there Saturday hours and/or an on-call nurse? Does he come across as trustworthy and kind or pompous and indifferent? And how will you know before the well-baby visit?
You won’t. And if you’re picky like me, you can expect to do some records transferring until you finally find someone you like.
In the meantime, it’s important to keep in mind the somewhat universals of pediatric doctors, according to Reader’s Digest’s “13 Things Your Pediatrician Won’t Tell You.” These are the habits and realities of most kid doctors, which, if you keep them in mind can (1) help in the search and (2) make your doctor/patient’s-parent relationship better.
Here are the Top 5 pediatrician secrets:
1. There’s a time limit — just around 10 minutes. Doctors recommend you prioritize your concerns and start with the most pressing. Make a follow-up appointment if the list is a long one.
2. Even though studies have shown that many ear infections for those 2 and older will clear up with time and rest, the doctor is still likely to prescribe antibiotics. Says the doctor in the Reader’s Digest piece: “We want to feel like we’re doing something. If I prescribe an antibiotic and a few days later your child feels better, I look like a genius.”
3. Go ahead and treat your child’s symptoms even if you can’t get an appointment until the next day or after the weekend. The doctor will believe you about a fever or red ears or a wheezing cough and your child won’t have to suffer unnecessarily.
4. Pediatricians would prefer you not undermine their doctor-patient relationship. So, if the doctor’s pulling out the otoscope and you say “he doesn’t like it when you look in his ears,” well, naturally, the kid won’t like it when the doctor looks in his ears! If you say nothing and let the events unfold, the doctor may be able to get a quick peek.
5. Well-baby visits are for making sure your child is growing and developing on target. For other issues and concerns, such as recurring headaches, doctors want you to make a separate appointment where the doctor focus the short appointment on investigating the symptoms. One doc told Reader’s Digest, “I literally won’t get paid if I investigate the headaches while you’re here.”