The Search for the Perfect Pediatrician

Tuesday , 21, May 2013 1 Comment

Remember Kat?  She’s’ weighing in on finding the perfect pediatrician!  Enjoy her post below:

I have heard that finding the perfect Pediatrician is much like The Dating game, and after my own recent search, I am inclined to believe this. Of course, I have also been through two husbands, while my kids have – until now – had only one pediatrician, so maybe it’s actually a tad easier?. Maybe. That said, I am also inclined to believe that leaving one is much like going through a really bad break up.. Now, you would think that living in or near “The Bubble” – AKA Peachtree City….Land of Churches and Dr’s Offices on every corner – would make this a fairly painless process, but for me…not so much.

Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly easy going, and tolerant person. Waiting room temperature always set to 79 degrees? No problem. (OK, so I *may* have adjusted the thermostat – that said DO NOT TOUCH in big letters – once or twice…or, maybe every time I came.) Two hour wait? No problem. OK. That’s not really true. Waiting in a stuffy waiting room, with a cranky toddler for two hours, is not my idea of fun. Especially when there is no food or drink allowed in said waiting room. (Of course, I *may* have slipped in some Gummy Fruits and Sippy Cup contraband a few times..) An unfriendly nursing staff that is constantly turning over? Yup, I even tolerated that. For eight years.

Why you ask? Because after eight years, of bringing my kids to one Dr., she felt like part of the family. My kids loved her, and so did I. Honestly the only reason why we eventually left – and are thankfully experiencing pediatrician bliss – is because she was unable to prescribe one of the ADD meds that my son takes.

Now, instead of naming particular Dr’s here in the Coweta/Fayette area, I have, instead come up with some tips and Questions to hopefully help you, if you ever find yourself on The Great Pediatrician Hunt.

First and foremost, Don’t be afraid to shop around, and like dating – don’t just pick the first one you come to. Once you have narrowed down the field a bit, call their office(s) and schedule a consultation, to “interview” your potential Pediatrician. Most Dr’s are even open to having an informal Q&A type session. Once you do this, here are some things to consider:

– Make a list of what is important to you, and stand by it. My Ped. was not a fan of Breastfeeding past a year, which is something that I did. At first she would make me feel horribly guilty, and I started feel like I would one day be on Oprah with a 10 year old nursing on me, but thankfully I stood my ground and pointed out that the AAP recommends Breastfeeding for at least the first year, and then for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. If you believe in Co-sleeping, a vegan diet, etc. make sure your Ped. will support you.

– Does the nursing staff have a high turnover? These are the men and women who will be giving your child her shots, and performing basic – and sometimes painful, – car, so it helps if your child is familiar with them. Plus, a high turnover, may be a good thing to have with coffee, but not so much with nurses.

– Ask your friends. Post on Facebook, ask over coffee, or during Zumba, whatever it takes, but DO get the opinions of your close friends, on which Pediatricians the recommend – as well as which ones they don’t.

– Does the Office Manager/Secretary have good people skills? I cannot stress enough, how important this one is. At our old Ped’s office, phone calls usually went like this:

OM: Welcome to Dr_____. May I help you?

Me: Yes, I’m calling to schedule my daughter’s 18 month Appointment.

OM – OK, how old is she?

Me: Um…18 months….which is why I am scheduling her for an 18 month checkup. (??)

OM: Well, when would you like to come in?

Me: Anytime but Tuesdays are fine. What times do you have available?

OM: Well, you have to give me a time and date. I can’t just make one up.

Me: Oh. You can’t just look and tell me which times she has free?

OM: No.

Me: Ohhhkayyy. Well, then, how about Wed. at 2:00?

OM: I’m sorry, that’s already been filled.

Fun times, I tell you….fun times!

– DO find out what it would take to get your child’s complete medical record from them. Under US Law, you have the right to get your child’s medical record until they are 18 years old, and they have 30 days to give it to you. The best scenario is if they can give you your child’s updated file electronically, via email, CD etc. It’s a GREAT idea to do this on a yearly basis, especially if your child has any serious health issues. To get my son’s records, took a few months, several threats, and a call from the new Ped. After that debacle I asked for my 2 year old’s records as well. I am hoping they arrive before she’s due for her 3 year old check up.

– DO make sure that you and your child gets along with the Dr and staff. If your child associates his/her Dr with the next antichrist, then they are probably not a good fit.

– Keep in mind that the small things really do matter. Is the waiting room clean, and comfortable? Is it set to a comfortable temp – preferably on the cool side? If you call to speak with the Dr, will you actually be able to…you know…speak with her? (I was never able to do this at the old Peds) Do they accept Walk-Ins and Same Day Appointments for sick kids? If one of your kids has to switch Dr’s, can the siblings still stay? I never thought this was an issue, until I switched my son, and was told they were now going to have to drop my daughter as well.

– Does he/she keep up with the latest research? Times are changing, and so are treatments for common illnesses – for instance, not every ear infection needs antibiotics, so make sure your Ped. is up to date on the current treatments and medications out there.

– Don’t forget to do YOUR research. Remember, Google is your friend. Unless you, or your child are sick, in which case you should probably stay away from Google, which will have you believing you have come down with some impossible to pronounce rare disease, last seen on some House MD episode, but I digress….Google IS great at finding reviews. You can do a general search on the Dr’s name, or go to some of the many Dr review sites out there, like: Healthgrades, Vitals, and Ratemds.

Just remember though, that even if a Dr has some bad reviews does not necessarily make them a bad Dr, since we all know that not everything on the internet is true. Except for this blog of course.

For me, it is also important that my children’s Dr be a Christian. What better medicine is there then having their Dr praying for them? This may not be an easy question to ask them face to face, but you can usually find out through word of mouth.

As for how our own Pediatrician Search ended, I was finally able to find a great Pediatrician, and when I walked into the waiting room below:

We finally found the perfect pediatrician!

The only thing missing was a choir singing Handel’s Hallelujah chorus.


Have you found the perfect pediatrician?  Was your search as difficult as mine?



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One Comment
  • Jamie says:

    Every Mom needs a pediatrician with whom THEY feel comfortable. Every doctor is not a good fit for every mother. I was always happy with my pediatric group, and I will name names! I interviewed several pediatricians while I was pregnant with my first child, and settled on Dr. Sarah Goza in Fayetteville (she was in partnership with Dr. Jerry Roberts in Peachtree City. Not sure if they still cover for each other. They had Saturday clinics in Peachtree City for sick kids when my kids were small.) I encourage mothers to interview their pediatricians, and to remember that THEY are WORKING FOR YOU! You are hiring them! YOU ARE THE BOSS! One of my friends with new babies just started with Dr. Roberts, and she loves him. I like Dr. Goza because she studied at a children’s hospital. She had no problem referring us to Children’s Healthcare, as needed, instead of trying to treat unusual issues. Dr. Goza and her staff passed all of Kat’s criteria, and my own. She supported my breast-feeding till my son was he was almost 2. She always personally called me back, or her caring staff–who all knew me and my children–could get specific answers for my questions, from the doctor, immediately, that left me feeling that I didn’t really need to speak to her, because she answered my question, or authorized what I was requesting. You also need a doctor, and staff, who will be an advocate for you with your insurance company to get the treatment and medications that your child needs.

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