Great questions for interviewing pediatricians
If you can ask these three types of questions, you’ll find the best fit.
Once you find out you’re pregnant and the celebrations pass, you’ll quickly become aware of just how many things you need to do before the baby arrives. One of the most important of these is selecting a pediatrician.
The process you make as you choose your pediatrician will almost certainly include an in-person discussion. It is your chance to spend time in the room with potential providers face-to-face and understand if you feel comfortable with them and trust their credibility. Below are three categories of questions to ask as you conduct your interview.
Questions about their education and experience
It is great to start with the nuts and bolts portion of the interview where you address a physician’s experience. These questions are good to bring up in the beginning because they’re easy to answer. They help you to warm up the conversation and give everyone a chance to relax a little bit more and give you a better basis from which to make your decision.
Here are some examples of questions that help you learn about their experience and background:
- Where did you go to school?
- What did you like about the school you went to?
- Where did you complete your residency?
- Where have you practiced?
Questions about where and how they currently practice
These days, doctors have a lot of options about where and how they practice. They can work on their own, with a small group of others. They can be based out of a hospital or one of many doctors that are part of a larger healthcare system. Each of these factors will affect the experience that you and your child have in receiving care.
These questions can help you understand more about how you might be impacted by how they practice:
- Can you tell me about the structure of your practice?
- Can you tell me about the other doctors you work with? How likely is it that my child will see one of your colleagues?
- Can you tell me what hospitals you have privileges in so that you can visit my baby just after they’re born? If you’re not on call, who will be conducting this visit?
- Can you tell me about the process for booking a regularly scheduled check-up? How far in advance are you scheduled out?
- Can you tell me what the process is if I have an after-hours question? How am I able to reach you directly or one of the other on-call physicians?
- Is there another after-hours service that you use? If so, can you tell me about them?
- What emergency rooms are you affiliated with?
- What is your process for obtaining records from emergency rooms and other after-hours clinics?
- What is the process for asking general, non-emergency questions that I may have between visits?
- Can you tell me about what insurance you accept and what your billing process is?
Questions about their responses to common medical needs
Remember, your job in an interview is to try to understand how your pediatrician responds to specific situations so that you can judge if you’ll be comfortable with their care.
In every pediatrician’s practice, there are some common medical needs that they see. While general medical practice is standardized for the most part, each doctor has their own approach to care. Your job in an interview is to try to understand how they’ll respond to specific situations so that you can judge if you’ll be comfortable with their care.
These kinds of questions help you talk about more specific medical scenarios that many children experience.
- What is your approach to managing fevers? When can a child be helped at home and when do they need to be seen?
- What is your approach to diagnosing and managing ear infections?
- What is your approach to prescribing antibiotics?
- What is your approach to vaccinations? What is the vaccination schedule that you recommend?
- What is your approach to other non-traditional forms of child and babycare?
- What baby-soothing techniques have you found work well for many of your patients?
- What are your thoughts on breastfeeding versus bottle feeding? If I want to breastfeed, what are some things that will make me more successful?
- What are the best ways to ensure sleep safety in newborns and infants?
Other things to keep in mind during an interview
If something about the nonverbal communication isn’t working for you, that can be a red flag. Pause and give your response the thought that it deserves.
As you’re conducting the interview, keep an eye out for things that are unspoken. Your goal is to find a practitioner that you trust and that is a good fit. If something about the nonverbal communication isn’t working for you, that can be a red flag. Pause and give your response the thought that it deserves.
At the same time, pay attention to positive nonverbal signs. If something makes you relax, smile, or continuously not your head, that’s also telling. Ultimately, by looking at both the spoken and unspoken answers a doctor is providing, you’ll get as much information as possible to make a great choice.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
- 30 dangerous habits to break now if you have kids | Parenting 101
Your doctor will tell you: Ditch these habits and your kids will benefit.
- Your complete checklist for bringing baby home | Parenting 101
This checklist will help you make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.