Miss H had her 18 month well visit a couple of months back. This appointment was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back for us with her doctor’s office. Here we are waiting in the waiting room:
This was a moment of calm during our 30 minutes of waiting for our appointment. When we were finally called back, I was disappointed to see that we didn’t have our favorite nurse. I’m pretty sure that nurse and the doctor were the only people keeping us with the practice. The nurse was always kind and upbeat, always seemed to remember us, and was great at giving Miss H her shots.
Unfortunately we had a nurse who was not friendly and asked us repeatedly how old Miss H was (even though we had told her we were there for our 18 month well visit, and she had Miss H’s file up on the computer).
After more waiting, we were finally seen by a resident-in-training and our doctor. Both were great and friendly and interacted wonderfully with Miss H. But as is typical, our face time with the doctor was small compared to the time spent with other members of the staff. Or waiting.
After even more waiting, the nurse came in with a helper to do a finger prick on Miss H for a lead test. Their bedside manner was terrible and Miss H screamed a lot. They sent it off to the lab, disappearing from the room before we could ask about the vaccination Miss H still needed. After about 20 minutes of entertaining ourselves in the room, they returned with the results that the test was fine. The nurse was about to send us on our way when I reminded her that Miss H still needed shots. She had forgotten.
More waiting ensued while the nurse got things together, and she finally gave Miss H the shots. In the process she scratched Miss H’s arm with one needle, and simply did not do a good job (as I’ve had to hold down Miss H’s arms for 2 other rounds of vaccinations, I’ve seen it go much better than this round). After that we had been there for 2.5 hours for a routine well visit. Between our time spent in the waiting room and all of our time in the exam room, we had spent half our morning there. Miss H was tired, cranky, and hungry, and we were exhausted.
Once we walked out of that room, we made the decision that we would never be going back there. As much as we loved the doctor, she was not enough to keep us there. We’d had a string of not great experiences – their inability to get Mr. H’s phone number correct on the file, long waits, struggles with getting messages through to our doctor, and rude service. As we’re still lining up a new pediatrician, we had to call this office recently as Miss H wasn’t feeling well. After missing a return call from our doctor, we called the answering service back within 20 minutes in order to speak to any doctor who was on call, as we needed to confirm the correct dosage of a painkiller for Miss H. But no one ever called us back.
We are excited to find and begin seeing a warm, inviting, and organized pediatrician practice. What I’ve learned from this process is to do my research in the beginning and to not settle. We chose our pediatrician because we’d heard good things about her but we didn’t look into the practice itself. We also settled for a mediocre experience for far too long.
This time around we will be asking a lot of questions – how quickly we should expect a return call in an emergency situation, what kind of care we should expect from an on-call doctor when our doctor is not available, if our doctor or the office is available to us by email, etc.
Have you ever had a similar experience with a doctor’s office? Did you wait it out to see if it would improve?