Pediatrician Interview Questions

Adoption-Related Questions:

1.   What are the Pediatrician's feelings about adoption, especially transracially and internationally?

2.   Does he/she currently have internationally adopted children in the practice? What is the racial/ethnic make-up of the practice?

3.   Are you aware of medical issues and care differences with children of different races?  Discuss how your pediatrician would use American Growth Charts to plot your child’s progression.  Using the American charts on a Cambodian child can be misleading.  Your pediatrician should be aware that Cambodian children tend to be smaller than their American counterparts. 

4.   Is he/ she willing to go over the medical information you have received (or will) at the time of your child's referral?

5.   How do you feel about prescribing antibiotics (the “add water” kind), syringes and scabies, lice, and rickets medication for the child for our trip to Cambodia?

6.   How do you handle not having the child's medical history?

7.   How soon after the child is place with us do you want to see him/her? Will the doctor be able to see your child within two days of arrival home for a brief visit, and then two weeks or so later for a complete visit? (When you have settled in a bit as a family and can really profit from the visit.) Ask how you can secure an appointment on short notice when you may not know the exact timing?

8.   Do you have experience with children who have been institutionalized? Discuss some common illnesses that internationally adopted children come home with and how the pediatrician would handle them (i.e., Girardia, Scabies, head lice).

9.  The child most likely will not have had medical visits or immunizations per usual Pediatric standards. What kind of visit schedule might he/she set up for you? Mention that you wish to have the tests recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in their Red Book under "Screening for the Internationally Adopted Child" done in the first few weeks; DO NOT ACCEPT that these are not necessary or advisable.

10. Do you feel there are any differences in providing care for adopted and non-adopted children? If so, what and why?

11. Do you support nursing an adopted child?

12. What are your thoughts on the adoption of children with special health care needs?


General Questions:

1.  Why did you choose pediatrics as your specialty?

2.   With what hospitals are you affiliated?

3.   What are your office hours?

4.   Do you make house calls?

5.   Do you have telephone hours? How do you handle phone queries? What is your philosophy of providing care via telephone?

6.   How are emergencies handled?

7.   How much time do they schedule for a well-baby checkup?  (Should be at least half an hour to allow time to answer parents' questions)

8.   If your office is very busy and my child needs to be seen today, what is your policy?

9.   Will I have a primary doctor or do I see whoever is handling sick patients that day?

10. What are your average waiting times for scheduling a routine visit? To be seen after arrival at the scheduled time?

11. How many doctors are in your group?

12. Has the size of your group changed recently?

13. Solo Practice: Who is your covering doctor? Does he/she follow your principles in their practice?

14. What are the special interests of the doctors in your group?

15. Do you use nurse practitioners? If so, what is their role?

16. Until what age will you continue to see my child?

17. What are you policies on parents staying with children during scary or painful procedures? Shots? X-rays?

18.  What is your philosophy about:

  • Discipline?

  • Allowing a baby to cry?

  • Medication use?

  • Antibiotic use?

19.  What is your position on circumcision? What are its pros and cons?

20. What amount of nutritional advice do you feel comfortable giving? i.e. When do you introduce solid foods? When do you feel vitamins should be given? Fluoride?

21. Bottle Feeding: Do you have a preference for types of bottle, nipples and formula? Why?

22.  Do you refer only to pediatric specialists?

23.  How do you feel about second opinions?

24. What percentage of your patients has been with you more than ten years? (If you've been in practice that long....)

Insurance/Payment Questions:

1.   How do you handle payment for services?

2.   What are your standard fees?

3.   Do you accept any insurance?

4.   Do all the doctors in your group participate in my insurance company or managed care plan’s provider network?

5.   Are you still accepting new patients for my managed care plan?

6.   If my plan requires that I select a primary care provider (PCP) to coordinate all of my child’s care, is the doctor designated as a PCP for my managed care plan? (Check with your plan to verify requirements for use of the PCP and, if you are considering changing PCP’s, to obtain information on how to make the change with the plan.)

Pediatric Office Observations:

1. Were you treated courteously, curtly or indifferently on the phone?

2. Upon arrival at the office, did you get a cheerful welcome? Was the receptionist friendly or distant? Was the staff responsive and patient with the children?

3. Were there age appropriate toys/books for the children? This is important as your child grows.

4. Ask parents in the waiting room how long the average wait is. Emergencies do happen, but you should be able to get a good idea. Remember, personality of the doctor affects the appointment punctuality. A doctor that takes the time to soothe a distraught child is worth the wait.

5. How is the office decorated? Is there child-size furniture? Is there comfortable furniture for Mom and Dad? What is the state of the office: tidy with everything in place; dirty/dusty; cluttered with toys, books and children playing? Perfect order is lovely, but are the children encouraged to play? Dirty is not exactly healthy.

6. Does the doctor HEAR or just listen to your questions and what you have to say? Is he/she in a rush to get to the next patient?

7. Although you can expect some guarded answers, especially regarding hospital procedures, is the doctor open and willingly responsive to questions? Remember the doctor cannot control all hospital policy/employees, even though he/she wants to assist you in the best possible manner. Does he/she solicit questions?

8. Is the doctor fun, compassionate and knowledgeable? Does he/she genuinely like children?



(c) 2004