WAYNESBURG, Pa. – Choosing the right doctor for your child can be hard because there are many factors to consider. That’s why one pediatrician from WVU Medicine Children’s is offering helpful tips.
Dr. Fanny Murken, a primary care pediatrician at WVU Medicine’s Waynesburg Pediatric Clinic, said parents must realize that a pediatrician is very important to a child’s wellbeing. The first step to picking one is realizing that the pediatrician will need to be chosen before the child is born.
“We would recommend starting that research process by your third trimester because your baby may come early,” Murken said. “And when your baby comes, you really need to have your first visit within a day or two of leaving the hospital, so it’s good to have already figured out who you’re going to see.”
Murken said once you realize you need to find a pediatrician, you should not forget to assess your options on a personal level.
She said it is important to choose someone with whom you have a good relationship because not all personalities are compatible, which can hinder the doctor-patient relationship. That is why Murken recommends meeting the pediatrician before deciding, to make sure all matters relating to rapport are covered. Her advice comes not only from being a professional but also as a mother.
“As a mom of two kids, for me what’s important is having; someone who is knowledgeable, someone who is personable, someone who has a good rapport with me and my child and someone who is going to want to help me through problems, help me figure out if anything is wrong, help me make the right decision and be there when I need them.”
In terms of the more objective criteria to use when assessing if a doctor is a right fit, Murken said many factors weigh in.
These include location, hours of operation, how many doctors are available at the clinic at any time, if they take calls or patients overnight, and if they have a patient portal.
The latter may seem trivial, but it is not. At the Waynesburg Clinic, as is the case with all locations in the WVU Medicine system, there is a patient portal that allows parents to keep track of medical records, lab results, and doctors and patients to message each other to get on the phone.
This is one of the many reasons the Waynesburg Clinic and WVU Medicine Children’s, in general, is worthy of considering for pediatric needs. Murken said being part of a larger institution means the clinic has many advantages for patients, including having easier access to medical records. This means if your child is sick and needs to be rushed to another location to see a specialist or someone different within the hospital system, their records can be easily transferred.
Another advantage includes the nurses.
“We have nurses here who are very experienced with kids,” Murken said. “We have nurses that take triage calls, and we have a great patient portal that allows for great communication. And we would love to have anybody in the area who is looking for a new pediatrician whether it’s because they’re expecting, or whether if it’s because they’re looking for something new to come give us a try.”
Regardless of if you choose WVU Medicine Children’s, Murken said, it is always critical to remember that having the right fit for a pediatrician is important.
If a parent feels like they can find better satisfaction somewhere else, then, by all means, they should move on, but not without using the aforementioned vetting tools to weigh out all the factors.
“I think it’s very important for you to feel comfortable with who is taking care of your child,” Murken said. “Because your pediatrician is your resource for answering questions even for routine things like; what to feed my baby, how to care for my baby, how often to wash my baby, things that aren’t all medical questions. And you want to have that kind of relationship where you feel like you can ask those questions and feel like you can trust your provider. And so we’d love for anybody to come give us a try and see if we can be that person for them.”
WVU Medicine Children’s continues its efforts to build a new children’s hospital in Morgantown to meet all the needs of mothers and children in West Virginia and the surrounding regions. To donate and learn more about the Grow Children’s campaign, you can visit their website.