I really liked the pediatrician who was on call at the hospital when my first child was born. So, when it came time to choose a long-term healthcare provider, it was an easy decision.
When choosing your baby’s healthcare provider, there are many things to consider. Do you have a relationship with a provider already? Is there a certain kind of provider that you prefer? Who do trusted friends and relatives recommend? What kind of experience and training is important to you? Finally, what type of provider will be best for your baby? A pediatrician, family practice group, family nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or pediatric nurse practitioner?
You can begin this process before your baby is born or ask the pediatrician on call for recommendations. Your baby will need to visit a provider very soon after birth, so it is important to have this in order ASAP.
This person is going to conduct well-child checks (including vaccines and screening), care for your child’s illnesses and injuries, refer you to specialists if needed, and give you guidance along the way. It is important that you like them and trust them. Also, if they are part of a group or team, you need to consider that as well. Would you be comfortable seeing any of the providers in the group?
Location, Location, Location
As you consider the person who will provide the care, also consider the location and the office itself.
Is the office convenient for you? Is there more than one location? Is your provider at the same office every day? How about the parking?
Finally, consider these practical elements as you make a final decision about your child’s healthcare provider:
What are the office hours? What about weekends or evenings? Do they take walk-ins?
Do you make appointments by telephone or online? Can you text?
How long does it take to get an appointment if your child is sick?
Is this provider included on your insurance plan?
Is the provider affiliated with a hospital? Is the hospital included on your insurance plan?
Are there separate lobbies for sick and well children?
Is the staff friendly and helpful? Do you feel comfortable in the office?
(Do they play somewhat irritating videos on repeat?? You may not be able to avoid this one—kids love it!)
Your child’s healthcare provider is an important ally and resource! Endeavor to find a great fit to ensure your baby gets the care he or she needs!