How to Use the Following Checklist
Now that you know what to look for in a pediatric practice, use the following checklist when you speak to a prospective doctor on the phone or at a prenatal visit. Before you speak with him, sit down at home and rate the following categories from 1 (not important) to 5 (very important). Make a copy of your rated form for each pediatrician you are planning to visit. Write the doctor's name on the top of the page and take it with you to your meeting. As you learn about the office, place a check mark on the line to the left of the rating scale if the office fits that particular criterion. When you get home, look at your check marks and see if they correspond to characteristics that you feel are most important. If so, you have found your match. If not, keep searching.
Daddy vs. Doctor—Choosing a Pediatrician
When we started the process of selecting a pediatrician, we had the following requirements: My wife wanted someone who was warm and receptive. As a first-time parent, she didn't want to feel uncomfortable asking "stupid questions." Even though I'm a pediatrician, I wanted someone who could give my wife and me a perspective different from my own, which tends toward the more relaxed end of the scale. That way we could both rest reassured that Aubrey was getting the very best attention.
Equally as important to us was the doctor's medical training. We were thrilled to find someone who had trained at a children's hospital. In the unfortunate event of having a baby who was seriously ill, we wanted someone who had extensive experience in managing all types of scenarios.
We also wanted someone who had enough time to sit and talk with us and not make us feel that we were being rushed through appointments. And we decided that we wanted someone who was young enough so that Aubrey could have the same doctor throughout her childhood.
We chose a young, female pediatrician whose warm personality and medical expertise was just what the doctor and his wife ordered.
After Aubrey was born, the stethoscope that I had packed in my duffel bag and brought along to the delivery room was never unpacked. I had no urge to examine her, nor did I think of her as my patient. I trusted the qualified person we had chosen as our daughter's doctor. As for me, I needed—and wanted—to focus on what was most important: being Aubrey's daddy.