All parents discover sooner than later that the pediatrician is one of the most important people in their and their children’s lives. Unfortunately, children, especially young ones, tend to get sick quite often. Whether it is the common cold in the winter or the stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) in the summer, you find yourself occasionally visiting the clinic. Here are some guidelines you should follow when choosing a doctor for your child.
1) Professionalism –Your child’s doctor must have a license to practice pediatric medicine in the country where you live. It is also recommended making sure he got his diploma from an established institution.
2) Reputation – Learn from others’ experience. Ask other parents to recommend good doctors for your children. Ask why they recommended these specific pediatricians and not others. Inquire about their advantages and disadvantages, so you can see whether they meet your demands.
3) Availability – There are doctors who are too busy because they are good. You do not want them. If your child is burning up with fever, you can’t wait. You will need to see your pediatrician right away, so you had better look for someone who will be available at a moment’s notice. In that regard, you should find a clinic that is open 24/7 or at least all week days until late hours
4) Cordiality – Visiting the doctor doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience for your child. True, sick children taken to a clinic are not at the best. They are in pain, they are exhausted and in most cases frightened. Your doctor should be able to handle them with the right attitude needed to treat young patients.
Skilled and kind pediatricians know how to approach children creating a non-threatening atmosphere. And, we shouldn’t forget that you, as a parent, are also part of the story. Good doctors also know how to be attentive to parents’ needs and anxieties (Sometimes parents are more scared than their children).
5) The digital doctor – A doctor that is available online, on SMS or WhatsApp can save you plenty of time, especially if you have a specific question or if you require a prescription renewal.
6) Conservative vs. progressive – Some doctors tend to keep abreast of the latest medical developments and are more receptive to new methods and therapies. On the other hand, other doctors adopt a more conservative point of view relying on their personal and professional experience – they have already seen many cases and treated countless children. Both types of doctors have their pros and cons. Ask yourself what is more important to you, and which approach you prefer.
7) The clinic – Make sure the clinic you visit with your child is not too far and can be easily reached (If you have to spend an hour and a half in traffic just to see your doctor, you should consider changing your clinic). Many children’s clinics are also equipped with play areas and toys that will help you pass the time with your child more pleasantly while waiting for the doctor to see you.
Lastly, an important factor parents tend to ignore is how spacious the clinic is. A cramped room will increase the likelihood of your child being infected by diseases of other children near him. This risk is higher among infants whose immune system is still relatively weak.
This article was contributed by Hanna Edwards, a pediatric nurse from Milwaukee, WI