How to Find a Pediatrician: A Guide for Parents

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What Is a Pediatrician and What Do They Do?

Raising a healthy child is every parent’s goal. And it’s our No. 1 priority, too. The pediatricians with Norton Children’s Medical Group, are passionate about caring for children while understanding that every child is unique. Finding a pediatrician near you is an important decision that can impact the rest of your child’s life. We are excited to get to know each one of our patients and their family members, and care for them as they grow from a newborn into a young adult.

A pediatrician is more than just your child’s doctor. They are an advocate for your child’s health and act as a supportive resource for you. Pediatricians see children of all ages, from newborns to young adults. Pediatricians are uniquely trained to support your child’s overall health, including their physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. They also track the child’s growth and developmental benchmarks, along with guiding and supporting you throughout each stage of your child’s development.

Your child typically may see a pediatrician if they are sick or hurt, or during a regular checkup. Pediatricians have a wide scope of responsibilities: from preventive care, such as wellness exams and vaccinations, to diagnosing and treating acute and chronic health conditions.

A pediatrician can help with:

  • Wellness exams, also called “well-child checkups,” and school physicals
  • Sports physicals
  • Tracking growth and developmental milestones for early detection of concerns
  • Protecting your child from illness with recommended vaccinations
  • Completing recommended health screenings
    • Such as anemia, lead exposure, high cholesterol, hearing and vision
  • Diagnosing and treating a variety of health conditions:
    • Common childhood acute illnesses (e.g., strep throat or ear infections)
    • Managing chronic conditions (e.g., asthma, eczema, ADHD or acne)
  • Screening, diagnosing and treating some mental health conditions, such as depression
  • Educating families on child safety and injury prevention
  • Consulting with parents, answering their questions and offering advice
  • Referring to specialists for additional evaluation or treatment 

Building a strong relationship with your child’s pediatrician is important because they serve as part of your child’s “medical home,” a place of partnership between your family and a team of pediatric care providers that knows your child’s health history and provides your child’s care as they grow. Your medical home providers create a bond that not only respects and honors your culture and traditions, but also develops a trusting relationship with you and your child through the years and during each phase of growth and development.

Finding a pediatrician may not be at the top of your mind early on in pregnancy, but it’s important to make this decision well before your due date. Generally, you should start researching pediatricians after the first trimester, and it’s a good idea to choose your child’s pediatrician around the start of the third trimester. Sometimes pregnancy can be unpredictable, and knowing who will be your baby’s pediatrician can offer some peace of mind and be one less thing to check off your to-do list as you prepare for your little one’s arrival.

The relationship with a baby’s pediatrician begins almost immediately after birth. When you arrive at the hospital to deliver your baby, the hospital staff will ask you the name of your baby’s pediatrician. Your pediatrician will be notified when your baby is born, and they may be available to examine your child within the first 24 hours after birth. If your pediatrician is not available, a staff pediatrician can perform these exams and will check on your baby throughout your stay. Before you leave the hospital, a pediatrician will conduct a thorough exam of your baby and answer any questions you might have about newborn care.

You’ll be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment with your pediatrician within the first week after birth. Scheduling follow-up appointments is necessary for your child’s well-being. Pediatrician appointments are vital to ensuring your newborn is healthy and thriving. During your baby’s first year, your pediatrician will help you make the right decisions when it comes to nutrition, safe sleeping, vaccinations and more.

Norton Children’s Medical Group has pediatric offices throughout Louisville, Kentucky, and surrounding counties including Southern Indiana. We believe you shouldn’t have to travel far to get great care for your little one. That’s why we have more than 25 locations across the region.

Finding a pediatrician you trust and are comfortable with is part of finding your child’s “medical home.” One of the best parts about having a medical home is being able to work with your child’s health provider to individualize your child’s care. It also is a place to turn for health information and support, including access to after-hours care, weekend appointments and same-day sick visits, plus online appointment scheduling. Finding a pediatrician who knows you and your child can help you avoid a trip to an emergency room for nonurgent care because your child’s doctor was unavailable or unreachable.

Location and Accessibility of the Office

Your child needs regular checkups with their pediatrician, and these appointments are more frequent during the first year. Make sure your pediatrician is located in a place that is convenient to your home or work. Norton Children’s Medical Group has more than 25 locations across the Greater Louisville area, including Southern Indiana. Find the pediatrician office location nearest you. Several of our pediatrician offices have extended weekday hours or Saturday hours.

Convenient online access to your child’s electronic medical record is available anytime, day or night, via Norton MyChart. You can view lab results, manage appointments, review medications and immunizations, send messages to your child’s provider and more. All information is stored securely.

Insurance Coverage and Acceptance 

You’ll want to make sure that your child’s pediatrician is “in network” based on your health insurance plan. Check with your health insurance provider and the pediatrician’s office to ensure your insurance is accepted. Norton Children’s pediatrician offices accept most health insurance plans.

Doctor’s Qualifications and Experience

Pediatricians undergo extensive education and training. It takes at least 11 years of education to become a pediatrician: four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school and three years of a pediatric residency. Some pediatricians spend additional years training in a subspecialty. You can view each Norton Children’s pediatrician’s profile, which includes their education and credentials, by office location.

Communication and Rapport With the Doctor

Our pediatricians strive to be available when you need them. Establishing a relationship with your pediatrician can help strengthen communication about your child’s needs.

Availability of Same-day Visits, After-hours Care and Virtual Visits

We know that when it comes to kids, you can expect the unexpected. That’s why we offer same-day sick appointments for unexpected care needs. Also, Norton Children’s After Hours, located at Norton Children’s Medical Group – Shepherdsville offers extended hours to treat minor injuries and illnesses.

Norton eCare providers are available to help with some nonurgent health concerns 24/7 from your mobile device or computer through Norton MyChart. Norton eCare is not for complex, emergency or urgent situations and is available only for children ages 2 and older. If your child is experiencing an urgent medical condition, call your child’s provider, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Benefit of Group Practice

Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatricians are part of a large group practice. That means you have the ability to transfer to any Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatrician office anytime. Whether your home, job or life situation changes, our pediatricians remain ready to provide your child and family with trusted health care.

When you stay with a Norton Children’s Medical Group practice, all of your information remains available to any of our providers for a seamless transition. If for some reason your child’s pediatrician is not available, we have many providers who are available to help.

  • What are your office hours?
  • Do you offer late-night or weekend appointments?
  • How do you handle specific conditions, such as autism, ADHD or other health concerns?
  • How do you make referrals and work with the referred provider?
  • How do I schedule an appointment?
  • How do you communicate with your patients if they have a question outside of their scheduled appointment time?
  • What is your approach or philosophy when it comes to caring for children?

We want to welcome your child and family. Our pediatricians are compassionate, caring and enthusiastic when it comes to caring for children. Find a pediatrician office location that’s near you and schedule an appointment.

Want to know if one of our pediatrician offices is the right fit for you and your family? Attend one of our Newbie Night open houses and find out for yourself! Newbie Nights are hosted at each Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatrician office location. This is your chance to meet the pediatricians and providers, check out the office location and feel confident in choosing the best pediatrician for your family. Newbie Night events are free and open to anyone who signs up.

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