Pediatrician vs Family Doctor
You have two main options when choosing a doctor for your child: a pediatrician, who specializes in the care and treatment of children, or a family physician, who is trained to care for the entire family.
A pediatrician’s extensive training is exclusively focused on children. Pediatricians complete four years of medical school, followed by a three-year pediatric residency. They then must pass a written examination to become board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
By concentrating their study and practice solely on children, pediatricians become more familiar with all aspects of a child’s health – from physical to social to emotional. They are also likely to be more knowledgeable about the nuances of pediatric testing, screenings, immunizations, medications, etc.
A family physician’s training covers a wide range of specialties. Family physicians complete four years of medical school, followed by a three-year residency in many areas including pediatrics, OB/GYN, internal medicine and general surgery. This breadth of study allows them to care for patients of all ages and have a general knowledge in many areas.
Choosing a family physician would allow your child the opportunity to develop a relationship with them that could last into adulthood. In addition, a family physician would have the benefit of knowing your family’s health history, which can help in recognizing symptoms of hereditary conditions and other medical issues.
When considering a family physician, ask whether the physician sees children. Whereas it used to be common practice for family physicians to care for the entire family, many family physicians today only care for adults.
There isn’t a right or wrong choice; there is just a choice of whom you feel most comfortable with and what is best for your family.