A good doctor is willing to listen and take the time to answer and respond to your questions and concerns.
Listening isn’t just a matter of courtesy. You want your doctor to be good at diagnosing disease, “and to do that she has to listen carefully to what you have to say,” says San Francisco Bay Area pediatrician Laurel Schultz. “I spend only about 10 percent of my time as a diagnostician, but it’s probably the most critical part of my job.”
It’s also key to find a doctor who is responsive to your wishes concerning your care. If you’re pregnant, that means finding a physician or midwife who will help you have the birth experience you want.
“I do a lot of preconception counseling appointments. It’s important to sit down and talk about what’s important to you,” says ob-gyn William Barth Jr., chief of the maternal-fetal medicine division at Massachusetts General Hospital.
When you’re considering a pediatric practice, find out whether the doctor shares – or at least respects – your views on feeding, sleep, vaccines, and other issues. One BabyCenter mom says her pediatrician took such a rigid stand against co-sleeping that she ended up keeping her family’s sleeping arrangements a secret from him.
“He was so opposed that I never raised the issue again. His narrow-mindedness on the subject made me question his other advice as well,” she says. Ultimately she switched doctors.
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