Choosing a provider for your child.
We know that choosing the right provider for your child is important. You want a skillful doctor you can trust. Let us help you make an informed decision about how to choose the doctor that is right for you.
- Many parents take their child to a pediatrician, a doctor who specializes in the care of children.
- A pediatrician specialized in the physical, emotional, and social health of children from birth through age 18. The primary focus of pediatrics is to keep children healthy and prevent illness.
- Pediatricians complete four years of medical school, followed by three years of pediatric residency. Some pediatricians have additional training in areas such as cardiology, critical care or emergency medicine.
- The benefit of a pediatrician is that they only treat children and focus their care specifically on childhood health.
Family Medicine Practitioner
- Some parents prefer to take their child to a family practitioner—a doctor specializing in family medicine who can treat the whole family, from birth to old age. This means your child would be able to see the same doctor throughout their entire life.
- Family physicians must complete three years of residency in family practice following four years of medical school. Family medicine residents train in pediatrics and several other areas such as internal medicine, orthopedics, and obstetrics and gynecology.
- They usually spend several months training in each area. Because they train in many areas, family physicians are qualified to care for patients of all ages.
- The benefit of a family practitioner is that all members of your family can receive their primary care from the same doctor. The provider knows the medical histories of all family members and may also be more aware of physical, emotional and social issues within the family.
Questions to consider when choosing a provider:
- Does the doctor seem to enjoy working with children?
- Does the doctor seem up-to-date on the latest medical trends?
- Does the doctor take time to listen to your questions and concerns?
- Do you understand the advice given by your doctor?
- Do you know and like the other staff at the clinic?
- Do you feel comfortable, respected, and well-advised by your care team?
- Is the waiting room pleasant and kid-friendly?
Sometimes the best way to choose a provider is to ask for suggestions from friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers who have children and who share your parenting philosophies.
Pediatricians and Family Medicine Doctors
There are two types of specialists that treat infants and children—Pediatricians and Family Medicine Doctors. Both Pediatricians and Family Medicine Doctors are specialists that receive additional training in preventing illnesses, not only treating patients when they are sick. They are known as primary care providers because they take care of the primary health care needs of their patients. A pediatrician treats children from birth through the age of 18. A family medicine provider treats people of all ages, from birth through end of life. Both receive equal training and education with slightly different areas of focus. Pediatricians prefer to work only with children and childhood illnesses. Family medical providers prefer to follow their patients throughout all of the cycles of their life. Choosing a Pediatrician or a Family Medicine Doctor is a personal choice. The most important thing is to choose a provider that you can talk to and feel comfortable discussing the health and health care needs of your child.