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Mission: Pediatrician

Twin Cities pediatricians share 11 smart questions to ask when seeking exceptional pediatric care.

baby dressed as a doctor playing with a teddy bear

Ask Yourself

8
“Does this pediatrician answer my questions?”
The doctor’s office is a busy place, and appointment times can lag behind schedule if a child needs extra time and care for something unexpected. However, your provider should always take the time to listen and respond to all of your questions and concerns.

“We all hate making patients wait,” says Dr. Leonard Snellman of HealthPartners White Bear Lake Clinic. “However, if a patient is willing to wait to see me, I have to be committed to spending the time that they need and deserve.”

“That the provider is a good listener should be at the top of the skills list,” adds Dr. Paula Kelly of HealthEast Woodbury Clinic.

Trips to the doctor can be scary for children, but a cheerful and comfortable office environment can help. Do the nurses and receptionists welcome both you and your child with a smile?

9
“Is the environment welcoming for children?”
Trips to the doctor can be scary for children, but a cheerful and comfortable office environment can help. Does the clinic have kid-friendly d├ęcor and toys or books for children to enjoy while they wait? Are there separate sick and well waiting areas to minimize the spread of contagious illnesses? Do the nurses and receptionists welcome both you and your child with a smile? Children are keenly observant, and these small kindnesses can make all the difference in their experience.

10
“How were my interactions with other clinic staff?”
Skallerud says it’s important to remember that you are not only choosing a pediatrician, you are also choosing a pediatric practice. After your initial visit, consider your experiences with the clinic’s receptionists, nurses, and other staff. Were they efficient, friendly, and helpful?

11
“What is my gut feeling about this pediatrician?”
Ultimately, trust and respect form the foundation of a good family-provider match. But these values develop over time. To quickly gauge whether a provider is a good match for your family, consider how you felt both during and after your initial visit.

“Do they talk with you or do they talk to you? Are they willing to listen to your concerns or do they dismiss them? Most of the time, you will know you have made the right choice if you leave appointments feeling supported and having a plan for going forward,” Snellman says.

When to Switch

Local pediatricians weigh in on the right time to search for a different pediatric care provider.

“If you do not feel that a physician is taking the time to listen to your concerns or address them seriously.”
Dr. Lori Skallerud, Southdale Pediatric Associates, Ltd.“

“When you or your child feel uncomfortable talking about sensitive issues, or if you feel like your communication styles do not match.”
Dr. Pamela Gigi Chawla, senior medical director of primary care, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

“If you often leave feeling angry, sad, disrespected, or frustrated.”
Dr. Leonard Snellman, HealthPartners White Bear Lake Clinic; vice chief of staff, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

“Preventive care, development, behavior, safety, nutrition, and social well-being should all be part of the discussion. If your doctor only focuses on their physical wellness, then I’d look elsewhere.”
Dr. Omar Yunis, Fairview Clinics—Burnsville

“If you are never able to see your provider of choice, resulting in no continuity of care.”
Dr. Paula Kelly, HealthEast Woodbury Clinic


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