Questions to Ask a Pediatrician at a Meet and Greet
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The Best Questions to Ask a Pediatrician at the Interview

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There’s no doubt, the meet and greet with your potential pediatrician is an important appointment. During this time, you’ll be assessing everything that makes your doctor a viable candidate: his philosophies, qualifications, staff, location, and even his personality. 

There’s a lot of factors to consider when you’re looking for a pediatrician, so coming prepared is the best move you can make. 

In last week’s post, we talked about how to find a pediatrician, including the most important factors to consider during your search and how to find one in your network. I also launched a free medical binder printables to help streamline the process (you can download that below).

In this post, we’re going to take a deeper look into the interview process, namely what questions to ask a pediatrician, what questions to ask before the meet and greet, and how you can inevitably choose the best candidate.

Speaking as a first time parent who’s been exactly in your shoes, let me reassure you: by interviewing your pediatrician you are saving yourself a lot of grief. While there may not be a perfect pediatrician, there is an excellent one waiting for your family. 

And guess what? You’re already on the right path to finding her.

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The Best Questions to Ask a Pediatrician at an Interview

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. I only recommend what I trust. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.

What is a Pediatrician 

If you’ve made it to the interview process, I’m willing to bet that you’re already familiar with what a pediatrician is. Having said that, before you walk into the interview, it’s important to note that you can actually choose three different types of practitioners to serve as your child’s primary care provider. 

Pediatricians

The first, and most common, is an actual pediatrician. Pediatricians are doctors that specialize in infant, adolescent, and teenager care. They will have the most experience with child-related illnesses and injuries. Ideally, they’ll have the best bedside manner as well.

Family Doctor

Family doctors focus on all age groups and possess a very diverse knowledge-base. Choosing a family doctor can be extremely convenient (less paperwork and you can schedule your checkups together), but they are less focused on children by default. When choosing a family doctor, you will want to make sure that he actually takes on young, new patients.

Nurse Practitioner

You can choose a pediatric nurse practitioner (or even an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner). Like pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners focus solely on infants, adolescents, and teenagers. They are qualified to perform most functions of family doctors or pediatricians, but may need to consult for complex conditions or illnesses.

Personally, I had a pediatric nurse practitioner and I loved her. I enjoyed the personal care she gave my daughter and she was very knowledgeable. 

When to Interview Pediatrician

If You’re Pregnant

If you’re expecting a new bundle of joy, the best time frame seems to be between 28-34 weeks. That gives you enough time to schedule a meet-and-greet with your top three professionals, if necessary, and avoid any early delivery scenarios. 

If You Have a Newborn

If you’re the proud new parent of a newborn, you need to find a pediatrician ASAP. It’s very important to meet with your baby’s pediatrician about a week after he is released from the hospital to check his growth.

Signs You Should Find a New Pediatrician

Now, let’s say you’ve been going to the same family doctor for years, but you’re not really getting the vibe that he is the best choice for your child. Don’t second-guess yourself.  Here are a few signs that you need to look for a new pediatrician:

  • Doctor dismisses your concerns
  • High wait times, long wait lists
  • Unfriendly staff
  • Inconvenient hours or location
  • Doctor doesn’t seem to keep up with current practices
  • He makes your child uncomfortable (this is different than stranger danger!)
  • He disagrees with your philosophies in a disrespectful way.

How to Find a Pediatrician

If you haven’t already asked your friends, family, and OB-GYN for recommendations, that should be your first move. Word of mouth is seriously valuable as long as you ensure that the pediatrician is still taking clients and is covered under your insurance network. Alternatively, you can use your insurance company’s “Find a Doctor” tool or the AAP’s search tool.

What to Look for in a Pediatrician

One last thing to consider before we get into what questions to ask a pediatrician: what exactly to look for in a pediatrician. We go over how to find a pediatrician and what exactly to look for in much more detail in this post, The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Pediatrician, but here’s some of the basics:

Convenience

Sometimes, it’s worth the 45 minutes drive for a great pediatrician. However, generally speaking, you’ll want to find one nearby. 

You should also check the practice’s availability, including their regular hours of operation, available nurse lines, and after-hours consultations. During the first 3 years of your baby’s life, you’ll visit the doctor a minimum of nine times (and trust me, this is the minimum).

Friendliness and Professionalism

Your doctor doesn’t have to be outrageously outgoing, but you should at least feel comfortable with him. If he’s not overly friendly, at least make sure that he’s courteous and listens to your concerns.

A pediatrician’s level of professionalism often trickles down to his staff. If the staff is rude over the phone or in person, you may want to consider a different pediatrician. 

Credentials and Services

Though not required, it is helpful to find an ABP or AAFP board-certified physician. This certification goes above and beyond the minimum requirements of practicing medicine, and ensures that your pediatrician is informed. 

If your child has a special condition, make sure that your pediatrician is not only trained, but experienced in that field.
Also, you may want to look at the services offered at the practice, such as same-day sick appointments, walk-ins, what tests are offered, and any special requirements needed for your child

Medical coverage and/or Payment System

You don’t want to break the bank every time you visit the doctor’s office. Make sure that your candidates are a part of your insurance network before making the interview with the pediatrician.

If you don’t have an insurance plan, ask the staff about their payment plan options or any uninsured patient discounts.

Philosophy and personality

At the heart of it all, the interview questions for a pediatrician should determine how well you jive together. If you don’t get along with your pediatrician or have zero commonality, you’ll both be miserable. 

Make sure you feel comfortable expressing your concerns and opinions with your pediatrician. Even if he doesn’t agree, he should listen and respectfully say his peace. However, if you disagree on several important issues (for example, your doctor pushes formula when you’ve decided to breastfeed), it may be time to move on.

Questions to Ask Before Interviewing Pediatrician

Interviewing a pediatrician - interview questions for pediatrician

You will want to do your homework before you even set up the interview. A parent-pediatrician relationship should be one of mutual respect. Pediatricians are very busy, so figuring out the minute details beforehand will show her that you’re respectful of her time. 

Before the interview, you should know:

  • Office hours ( you may need to ask the pediatrician about after-hours care or consultations)
  • How they handle billing and insurance
  • Doctor’s credentials, including any disciplinary actions (Google {State} medical disciplinary actions). Most of the time, your doctor’s credentials can be found on Vitals.com, Healthgrades.com, or her healthcare network’s website. 

Hey, Mama. Are you pregnant and on a budget? Don’t let that keep you from taking a childbirth course! I highly recommend checking out the Birth It Up Online Class from Mommy Labor Nurse. Whether you’re planning on giving birth naturally or with an epidural, you can learn everything you need to know for under $40! Check it out!

How to Set up the Meet and Greet 

I highly recommend calling the office to set up the meet and greet, rather than using any online appointment system. When you think about it, this is the first time you’ll get a gauge on the office staff. It’s an important call!

Stumped on what to say?

Simply explain that your are a parent/future parent and you’re interested in setting up a consultation to get to the know the pediatrician. Most of the time, the staff is completely understand. However, if they balk at the idea of a meet-and-greet or claim that you need to set up a first patient visit, you may want to keep looking.

Keep in mind that most offices do charge for this consultation, which may or may not be covered under your insurance policy. 

Personally, I would set up three interviews. You may not attend all three, but if the first interview is a flop, you won’t be scrambling to schedule another one. Most of the time, the office will let you cancel with 24 hours notice.

The Best Questions to Ask a Pediatrician at a Meet and Greet

Okay, you’ve made it this far!

 Now it’s time to get into the good stuff: questions to ask a pediatrician at a meet and greet. Some of these questions are pretty straight-forward, but there are a few that have a little more nuance.

1. Tell me about your practice. 

This is an open-ended question designed to gauge what’s most important to your pediatrician and get a feel for his personality. Don’t try to fill the silence, let him talk about his practice and what matters most to him.

2. If you’re unavailable, who can I see or talk to about my child’s illness?

Urgent care clinics are expensive and you have no idea what you’re walking into. You want to make sure that if your pediatrician is on vacation for two weeks, you can take your child to someone that your pediatrician trusts.

3. Does your practice provide after-hours consulting? 

It’s 2AM and your baby has a raging fever. Should you take him to the ER or wait it out until morning? 

An after-hours nurse line or consultation line can answer that question fairly quickly. If your pediatrician doesn’t have this service, you should ask how long it will be before you can expect a call-back. 

4. Do you offer walk-ins or same-day sick appointments?

Most practices offer same-day appointments for infants or children with acute illnesses. Double-check this fact before making your decision. If the clinic doesn’t offer that service, they should refer you to a good nearby walk-in clinic. 

5. What’s your philosophy on {vaccines, infant antibiotics, circumcision, baby weaning, breastfeeding, sleep training, etc}.

Hands down, one of the most important questions to ask a pediatrician: what’s your opinion on…

Don’t go crazy here, but do focus on the controversial issues that are most important to you. 

If you’re looking for extreme and disrespectful opinions. For example, if your doctor is adamantly against sleep training and criticizes you for practicing it, this is an indication you should move on. However, if he states his opinion professionally and respectfully, you may not have any issues.

You really need to use your discretion here. Your pediatrician will be your greatest ally and source of information for a long time. 

6. Why did you choose pediatrics?

When I first became a mom, I saw another blogger recommend this question. I chickened out of asking it because it felt a little too personal. Now, I wish I had. 

The answer to this question is an excellent indication of how committed this pediatrician is to her practice and how passionate she will be with your child.

7. Are your imaging or testing centers in our network as well?

Ideally, the practice will be able to do x-rays, urine samples, and blood tests in-house. However, if this isn’t the case, it’s a good idea to check out the locations the pediatrician requires you to use. 

8. Do you have children?

Just like question 6, this is one of the more awkward questions to ask a pediatrician.

The point isn’t necessarily that your doctor has children of his own and is qualified to make diagnoses of children. You’re just trying to get a gauge on his personality and passion. Try to ask it as organically as possible.

9. Do you have any experience with {insert your baby’s special circumstances}.

If your child has special needs, you want to make sure that you find the professional most qualified to care for them. This is a non-negotiable. 

10. If pregnant, ask the newborn checkup at the hospital. 

If your doctor isn’t able to provide this service, most of the time it’s not a deal-breaker. Many hospitals have pediatricians on-call that can perform this checkup. However, do make sure that you can bring your baby in within 5 days of leaving the hospital.

SHORT ON TIME? PIN IT FOR LATER!

Questions to Ask a Pediatrician at a Meet and Greet

Questions to Ask Yourself

Cleanliness

Does the facility offer sanitation stations? Are the parking lots, rooms, and lobbies well-kept? What about the play area? Your kid will spend a lot of time in those play areas, sharing germs with other children. Make sure that the facility is up to snuff.

Friendliness

Look at the supporting staff. Were the nurses and office admin friendly? Did they get you in on time? Don’t forget that this place seriously affects your child as well. If the vibe is cold and unfriendly, your child may pick up on it. 

Knowledge

On paper, many doctors share the same qualifications. However, that doesn’t mean they share the same experiences. How did your doctor do answering your questions? Was he confident and informative or did he balk at the interview process? 

Also consider if he seemed up-to-date on his practices.

Comfort

How comfortable did you feel asking these questions? Did you feel rushed? If you were respectful of the doctor’s time, you should not have felt pressured. Mostly, you want to feel heard. If your doctor seemed bored, unresponsive, or belittling, this is probably not a good fit.

Don’t Forget the Purpose of the Meet and Greet

Are you noticing a common theme here?

The interview isn’t so much for assessing the pediatrician’s professional qualifications but making sure she’s a great fit for you. On paper, most pediatricians can do the job, but you want to do more than find a qualified pediatrician. You want to find the best one for your family, right?

That requires some of the box questions that dive into who your doctor is as a person and a professional.

What Are Some of Your Favorite Questions to Ask a Pediatrician?

I sincerely hope this list helps your interview with a pediatrician go smoothly. This is an important decision, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a big deal. You’ve got this! 

If you haven’t already checked out my post on How to Find a Perfect Pediatrician and downloaded your FREE Baby Medical Binder Printables, please do! I think it’ll really make the process so much easier. 

And, if you’re reading through this and you have a few of your own questions you’d like to add, I’d love to hear from you! Let’s support each other!

Good luck!

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3 Comments

  1. I am 30 weeks pregnant with twins right now, and because my two daughters have a high chance of coming early, I want to look for a pediatrician now. You make a great point that I should schedule a meeting with my top three pediatricians. This seems like a great way for me to find out if they are professional and easy to work with.

  2. It was really helpful when you said that you should find out if their friendly and professional. My sister is wanting to find one for her newborn daughter. Thank you for the tips on how to find a pediatrician!

  3. Your advice to get a feel for the pediatrician by letting them talk about their services is a good idea. Before you meet with them, it would probably be best to research local pediatricians online. This way, you can have an idea of their services and ask the right questions while they talk to ensure that they offer the pediatric care that you expect and are looking for.

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