Don’t Kid Around

A few quick tips for picking a pediatrician.

If shopping for your kids’ clothes is hard, imagine shopping for their doctor. But knowing what to look for can smooth the process. So we asked around for you.

Not Just the Doctor
Finding a quality pediatrician may be your top concern, but other office staff members matter, too. Doctors are cognizant of training their receptionists and nurses to be warm and friendly because they provide the first impression, whether it’s made in person or over the phone. “A nurse should be doing phone triage,” says Dr. Barbara Calkins, a pediatrician at the Brookfield branch of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “When someone calls you back, it should be someone who has medical experience with children who can identify what your concerns are and guide you to the next step.”

The Doc’s Demeanor
Look for a doctor who is attentive and patient, whether you have one question or 10. At Kids Health Partners in suburban Chicago, new parents are encouraged to schedule a free appointment – before their child is born – to test their rapport with doctors. “Some people will come in with a 40-point list of questions, and that’s OK,” says Dr. Mary Hall, one of three pediatricians there. Docs should also be as engaging with kids as they are with parents, whether it’s discussing dinosaurs with boys or princesses with girls, and putting their patients at ease.

More Than Banker’s Hours
For households with two working parents, an office with night and weekend hours can make all the difference. Same-day service helps, too. “You want one of the doctors in the practice to be available by phone after hours,” Calkins says. “And in this day and age, most doctors are available through email.”

‘Don’t Kid Around’ appears in Milwaukee Health, a brand new addition to the Milwaukee Magazine family.

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