The Best Questions to Ask Potential Pediatricians
I interviewed a handful of pediatricians while pregnant with my first baby. Here are my top 10 questions to ask potential pediatricians. It’s a mix of my initial questions before baby arrived combined with things I found important once baby was born. I had difficulty getting my baby to gain weight, so we were frequent flyers in the early months. After my baby reached a healthy weight, we celebrated! And then we only saw the pediatrician for well-visits. However, my second baby started daycare as an infant and was sick almost👏🏾every👏🏾 week. This list is based off of that experience.
1. Do you have weekend hours? If so, what are they?
This is one of the most important questions to ask potential pediatricians. Why? Because if your practice does not have weekend hours and you believe your baby needs to be seen over the weekend, you need to price out how much an urgent care visit might cost you. Even though I have insurance, I pay out of pocket $180ish/urgent care visit😕
2. What is your latest appointment during the week?
Another one of the most important questions to ask potential pediatricians has to do with the time of the last available appointment. If the last appointment is 4:30 pm and daycare tells you at 4:45 pm that you need to pick up your sick child/they can’t return to school without a doctor’s note, you need to figure out a Plan B.
3. What time do you close on Friday?
While this may seem to be one of the sillier questions to ask potential pediatricians, it really does matter. Many offices close at noon. See if yours is open a bit later on Fridays!
4. What is your earliest available appointment for sick children?
This is another one of the most important questions to ask potential pediatricians because you want to know what will happen if you call first thing in the morning. Will the office will tell you to come in ASAP? Or will they put you in the last afternoon time slot?
5. What is your latest available appointment for sick children? / can my child be seen same-day?
This answer to this question also helps you plan in advance, which is why it is one of our favorite questions to ask potential pediatricians. If your child can’t be seen same-day, you need to decide if you will seek alternative options that day or wait to be seen by your pediatrician the next day. Take it one step further and ask how many slots per day are reserved for same-day sick visits.
6. How many days do I have to wait before my child can be seen if they have a fever, diarrhea, etc?
At my pediatrician’s office, they want me to treat fever and diarrhea at home for a certain period of time before my child can be seen. Find out in advance what other ailments (if applicable) fall under the ‘wait it out’ method as well as the duration you need to ‘wait it out’.
7. Do you have an after hours nurse line?
This is a great perk, if your office offers it. They usually have a pediatrician on-call, as well.
8. How many doctors are in your practice?
If there is only 1, then there can only be a limited number of slots available for sick children. Something to consider.
9. When you go on vacation or are sick, are patients referred to other pediatricians or re-scheduled?
I usually book well-visits months in advance so I can select the last appointment of the day. So when we are re-scheduled due to the doctor being sick, it means we have to come in the middle of the day. It also means leaving work/school much earlier than originally planned.
10. Can 2 adults be present during a well visit? Or must one parent wait in the waiting room?
For parents of babies, this can be a deal breaker, so ask before you go.