Choosing a primary care provider (pediatrician, family doctor or nurse practitioner) for your baby is not easy. That is why it is very important to do proper research before your baby arrives. Be prepared to interview more than one provider. Ask lots of questions, and make sure you feel very comfortable with the person you choose.
What is a pediatric care provider?
A pediatric care provider may be a:
- Pediatrician: Primary care doctors who specialize in providing care for newborns, children, and teenagers. Pediatricians provide well-care and sick-care, give immunizations, and provide developmental care as your child continues to grow. Pediatricians are available for any questions or concerns that you might have about your child's health.
- Family doctor: Also primary care doctors, however, they differ from pediatricians in that they are specially trained to care for the entire family.
- Nurse practitioner (NP): Advanced practice, highly trained registered nurses who are qualified to diagnose and treat your child either as a part of a pediatrician’s or family doctor’s office team, or independently. In some states NPs are licensed to prescribe medications; others can prescribe under a doctor’s supervision.
How do I find a pediatric care provider?
When deciding on a provider for your baby, start off by finding out which is covered by your health insurance company and is located close to your home. It might be beneficial to ask your OB/GYN or friends and family for any recommendations.
How do I choose a pediatric care provider for my child?
When you are going through the process of choosing a provider for your child, meet with three or four providers before making your decision. You might want to consider someone who is easily accessible and to whom you are comfortable talking about your child's health. Other important information you might want to consider includes office procedures, office location (if it is near your home and work), and the person’s background.
More questions to consider:
- What time does the office open and close?
- Is the doctor available on any nights and/or weekends?
- Whom do I contact if I have an emergency?
- How does the office handle billing?
- Is the staff friendly?
- With which hospital(s) is the doctor/NP affiliated?
- Will my child be seeing the same doctor/NP each visit?
- How do I make an appointment?