Looking for a pediatrician for your newborn? Here are 15 interview questions for pediatricians you need to ask at a meet and greet.
If there’s one thing you can’t put off until after your pregnancy, it’s finding a pediatrician.
You may have been able to find an OBGYN after you found out you were pregnant, but not so with your newborn’s doctor. You’ll need to find and select a pediatrician before he’s born.
You see, the baby’s first checkup happens right at the hospital after he’s born. The pediatrician will take a look at him and likely visit each day you’re there. She’ll also be the one to discharge and claim him fit to go home.
Not exactly something you can put off to the last minute.
So, how do you find the right pediatrician for your baby? And how do you even start or filter potential candidates?
It comes down to visiting and interviewing potential pediatricians for a meet and greet. But if you’re a first-time mom or starting a new search, you might not know the right interview questions for pediatricians or where to begin.
Interview questions for pediatricians
Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered. I wanted to make sure my son’s (and later, my twins’) doctor was someone we all felt comfortable with, and someone they could go back to for the long term. When we moved and later had to switch, I used the same criteria to find their current pediatrician.
I’ll share a few factors you might want to consider when whittling down your choices, and resources to start your search.
Once you have a few in mind, the best way to make the right decision is to visit and talk to them. Below, I share the top 15 interview questions for pediatricians as well as observations to make during your meet and greet.
After you’ve narrowed down your search to a few candidates, it’s time to schedule appointments for a first meeting. During your conversation, make sure to cover important topics with these pediatrician interview questions:
1. Do you take my insurance plan?
For many of us, the pediatrician we select relies on whether she’s covered under our insurance. Even if she shows up in your network, give the office a call to double check that they still accept your insurance. Some websites may not be as current, and the doctor’s office will provide an accurate answer.
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2. Will you be available around my due date?
Some doctors already have plans for the year, from vacations to professional training and even for their own maternity leave. Find out if she’ll be available around the time you give birth.
3. What happens if you’re not available?
What are her contingency plans if she’s not available, whether to discharge your baby at birth or even for regular appointments?
4. Is there another pediatrician to cover for you?
Many physicians are part of a group practice with others to cover should they be unavailable, whether for a typical check-up or sick appointments. Is there another pediatrician she can rely on if she’s not available?
5. What hospital are you affiliated with?
Having your pediatrician associated with the hospital nearby or the one you’ll deliver in can be convenient. She’ll already have her information stored should the hospital need to reach her quickly.
6. Will you be able to visit for the first-day check-up?
Find out if she’ll be around the first few days you deliver so she can examine the baby.
7. Will you be the one to discharge the baby?
She’ll most likely be the one to discharge the baby and deem him fit to go home with you.
8. What are your office hours?
Most offices will hold standard office hours from 9am to 5pm, but find out their official times. Your pediatrician might not be available on certain days or certain hours. See if they open earlier some mornings or later some evenings.
9. Can we still reach you during non-business hours for emergencies?
Find out her availability during non-business hours. You might need to call her during after hour emergencies with a question about the baby.
10. What is your typical well-baby schedule?
Find out when she expects you to take the baby in for office visits. This is usually based on milestones like weeks and months, as well as when he’s due for vaccines. Knowing the schedule will help you plan ahead and keep an eye out for future appointments.
11. Are you able to do standard lab work or vaccinations in your office?
Most offices can administer vaccines right in the clinic, but some may have you go to another office to do blood or lab work. If so, find out which ones they recommend and are affiliated with.
12. What is the typical waiting time for a standard appointment?
See how they handle waiting times and how long patients typically wait before they’re seen. Research this online for reviews (though keep in mind, people are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive ones).
13. If my baby gets sick, will you be available for same-day appointments?
How quickly will she be available to see your baby in the clinic should he get sick or need immediate attention? If she isn’t available, which urgent care facilities will she refer (and are these covered in your insurance)?
14. How far in advance do we need to schedule well-baby appointments?
Some doctors are so popular that you can’t get an appointment until weeks or even months down the line. Does she recommend that you schedule well-visits ahead of time to avoid missed appointments?
15. What is your late or cancellation policy for appointments?
What happens if you’re late for an appointment (and what counts as “late”)? Find out if she has a fine for late or missed appointments. And should you need to cancel, up to how soon to the appointment can you do so without getting fined?
Observations about the pediatrician’s practice
There are many perks to meeting the pediatricians, instead of relying on online information or a phone conversation. Visiting their offices gives you insight into their demeanor and personality and gives you a peek into their facility.
Here are a few things you want to look out for:
- How comfortable did you feel speaking with the pediatrician? Did you like her communication style and bedside manner?
- Did she seem professional and knowledgeable?
- Was her office kid-friendly? Did they have a child-focused waiting area? Was the waiting room clean, well-maintained, and baby-proofed?
- How did you like the nurses and the office staff?
- How was parking? Was it easy to get to her office?
- Did you have to wait a long time before meeting with her?
How to look for potential pediatricians
After all this talk about interviewing and visiting pediatricians, where do you even begin looking for a few to speak to? Here are a few ideas:
- Your insurance network. Start your search within your insurance network. Avoid making appointments with pediatricians if they aren’t part of your insurance network.
- Referrals from your OBGYN. Many OBGYN practitioners can refer all types of doctors, including pediatricians. The best part is that many of them categorize their referrals on whether these doctors are part of your current insurance network.
- Referrals from friends and family. Many of us rely on personal recommendations since we can get an honest assessment and trust friends and family.
As you go through your options, you likely already have a few preferences in mind. Take these factors into consideration before making appointments to meet with the pediatricians:
- Gender. Do you have a preference for a male or female doctor?
- Age. Do you have a preference for their age?
- Experience. What is each pediatrician’s experience in their field?
- Recommendations. Does the pediatrician come recommended?
- Convenience. How close is the pediatrician’s office from your home?
- Ratings. How highly rated do the doctors appear in online searches?
- Expertise. Do you need a doctor with a particular specialty or certification?
Hopefully you now feel better prepared to find a pediatrician for your baby. You know how to filter a wide pool of candidates into the few you plan to meet. You also have interview questions for pediatricians to ask, and observations to make about her practice.
After meeting with my son’s future pediatrician, I knew we made the right choice. I felt the same when we ran another search after moving into our new neighborhood, confident that my kids are in good hands. It’s nice to know they’ll also likely continue to see her for years to come.
And to think… it all started with one interview.
Get more tips:
- 5 Useful Tips for New Dads in the Newborn Stage
- 11 Things Moms Do with the First Baby We Don’t Do with the Second
- 7 Things to Do After the Baby Is Born
- Pregnancy Checklist: 9 Things to Do Before the Baby Is Born
- The Ultimate Newborn Shopping List
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