Interviewing a Prospective Pediatrician

Yesterday I called numerous doctors' offices looking to schedule a consultation. After calling and finding out that larger practices and popular doctors didn't have opening until after my due date I all but gave up. Alas the last office on my list, Dr. Tara Matthews, had a 1:45 p.m. consultation time today. YEAH! 


The interview was cool. Dr. Matthews was down to earth, easy to talk with, and knowledgeable about the things I care most about (i.e., breast feeding, vaccination schedules, and being able to come in the same day my child is sick). The office staff was friendly, the space was neat (the practice is moving to a larger location next month), and they have separate sick and well rooms for patients. Here were my interview questions:

  1. Is the office open in the early morning, evenings or on weekends?
  2. Who are the doctors on call when the office is closed?
  3. Are there regular call-in hours for talks with the pediatrician? Do you respond to questions by e-mail?
  4. How are emergencies handled? Will you have to go through a paging service? Will the doctor meet you at the hospital?
  5. Do you support breastfeeding? Until the child is what age?
  6. How do you feel about circumcision? 
  7. What are your views on the use of antibiotics? 
  8. How do you treat ear infections? 
  9. Are you open to alternative treatments for some illnesses? 
  10. How do you feel about immunizations? 
  11. Are you trained to care for a child with special needs? 
  12. Do you have any sub-specialties?
  13. Do you have separate sick and well waiting rooms?
  14. Will your initial meeting with my baby be at the hospital or the first checkup? What is your schedule for well baby checkups?
  15. Will you discuss my child’s general growth and issues like discipline and social development?
  16. What hospitals do you work with?
  17. Do you take my insurance? Is there an extra charge for…Advice calls during the day? Advice calls after hours? Medication refills? Filling out forms? Will any other fees apply?
  18. What tests are handled in the office, and what is done elsewhere? Where?

    Ask Yourself

    [  ] Was the office clean?

    [  ] Was the waiting room kid-friendly, with toys and books?

    [  ] How soon could the interview be scheduled? How long were you in the waiting room?

    [  ] Was the office staff helpful? Were the nurses friendly?

    [  ] Was the interview rushed? Did the doctor seem open to questions?

    [  ] Did the communication feel natural? Was the doctor easy to understand?

    [  ] Was parking convenient?