by Jessica Schmid, DO at The Platteville Clinic at Southwest Health |
The health and well-being of a child is always on your mind if you’re a parent. It’s only natural to want the best for your children. Finding a doctor you trust to help with the care of your child can often be a difficult and worrisome task. One of the most common concerns is choosing between a pediatrician or a family practioner, and what that means.
Pediatrician and Family practitioners both spend three years in residency. Pediatrics residents spend much of their time training, learning how to care for acutely ill children who are hospitalized for anything from and respiratory infection to cancer. They spend some, but less, time learning to care for children in an office setting working on preventive care and caring for normal childhood injuries and illness. After completing so much training in caring for patients in a hospital setting, many pediatricians then specialize in a more specific career path. Family Practice residents also spend several months training in pediatric areas, and several months taking care of very ill hospitalized patients. But what family practice residents also do is spend additional time learning how to care for children in an office setting.
Your family practitioner helps to care for your children before they are even conceived by making sure that the parents and siblings are healthy, as well caring for mother while she is pregnant. Healthy parents and families help keep kids healthy. Family practitioners are able to care for the infant immediately following birth both in the hospital as well as in the clinic.
Especially in a rural community, there is the convenience of being able to have all family members seen in the same clinic, close to home. If one member of the family is sick, it is possible that another family member may also be ill, and having to go to two different doctors is not on the top of anyone’s to-do list. Some pediatricians will stop seeing children at a certain age, which can mean having to find a new practitioner for your adolescent or young adult’s changing healthcare needs.
With a family practitioner, you child can continue to see a doctor that they have known since they were young. It’s important for young people to be comfortable with their provider for what can sometime be awkward and embarrassing exams as they grow. You can also be assured that a family practitioner knows just as well how to take care of adult issue just as they will any childhood issue.
Any provider will do their best to take care of their patient. Only a family practice physician will help to care for your little one through all the stages of the life, from pre-conception into adulthood, close to home, and be able to take care of other family members as well.
For more about pediatric visits or to schedule an exam, visit southwesthealth.org/familycare, or contact Southwest Health at (608) 348-4330.