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Tips to find a pediatrician your family clicks with

March 6, 2023 | Healthy You | Kids Health

Pediatrician uses stethoscope to listen to little child's heart

Here are some questions to ask when your child needs a new doctor.

Your family’s relationship with your child’s pediatrician can last nearly 20 years — or longer if you have more than one child. 

It’s worth taking the time to find the right provider for support to raise your child to be as healthy and happy as possible.

“Your child’s pediatrician will see you at your best and your worst,” said Ashley Schmieding, MD, a pediatrician with PeaceHealth in Eugene, Oregon. “This is the person you’ll turn to when your baby is fussy with a fever or ear infection, when your young adult child is getting ready to leave the nest, and for everything in between.”

“My biggest piece of advice is to choose someone you click with,” she said.

You may be surprised at the connection you’re able to build with a provider in just a 10-minute get-to-know-you session, she noted.

“Look for someone who puts you at ease. Someone you can imagine you and your child can talk with openly about sensitive subjects, such as an ADHD diagnosis, or struggles with anxiety or depression."

Choose someone who takes the time to understand medical and social factors that affect your child’s health and well-being. This includes things such as family history, language preference, cultural practices and other meaningful considerations.

Where to start?

Whether you’re expecting your first child or have moved to a new area, the process to find a pediatrician is much the same. 

Ask other parents you trust for recommendations. When you have a few names, start calling their offices. Staff should be able to answer basic questions and set up an interview with the doctor.

Questions to ask

  • Where is the clinic located? If you have a newborn, keep in mind that in just the first year, your child will have seven well-baby visits. Choose a location that will be convenient for your family.
  • Does the clinic accept my family’s health insurance? If your household budget is tight, does the clinic offer financial aid or allow payment plan options?
  • Is the doctor accepting new patients? 
  • What are the provider’s credentials? Is he/she board-certified in Pediatrics? Being board certified shows that the provider has special expertise with children and keeps current in medical training.
  • What are the clinic hours? Are services available on evenings and weekends? 
  • Who will see my child if our pediatrician isn’t available? If your pediatrician is not available on a day that your child needs care, one of the other providers in the office may care for your child. Ask if they use a similar approach to care.
  • What if I have questions about my child but I’m not sure we need to be seen? Many clinics offer nurse triage — a nurse you can talk to for advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Building the relationship

As you get to know your child’s pediatrician better and build your relationship, you’ll appreciate having done your research ahead of time — and trusting your instincts. You might even find that your child looks forward to visiting the pediatrician — and you do, too.

Ashley O. Schmieding MD

My favorite part of medicine is establishing strong relationships with families. I enjoy making visits a little bit more fun, while being a reliable, trustworthy presence who practices evidence-based medicine. When not seeing patients at University District Pediatrics Dr. Schmieding enjoys spending time with her husband Brian, their two children Benan and Harper and their two dogs and two cats. She is a snowboarder, adventure enthusiast and a lover of food.