Blue Healthwest Logo

News & Health

Pediatrician and young girl doing a high five

Choosing a Healthcare Provider for Your Children
What About Pediatrics?

Taylor Powell
By Taylor Powell
There are few things more important to parents than the health, well-being, and development of their children. Choosing the right healthcare provider for your kids can be overwhelming since there are a variety of factors to consider.

Experience, cost of care, availability, and personal compatibility can make a significant impact on the satisfaction you feel with your healthcare. In addition, parents are often unsure of the differences between family medicine doctors, pediatricians, physician’s associates, and nurse practitioners—making it nearly impossible to choose the “right” one.

This article is meant to aid and educate parents solely on the types of pediatric providers available who specialize in children’s healthcare.

First, pediatricians are licensed physicians whose expertise is in the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatricians have completed a bachelor’s degree, medical school, and a three-year residency program specifically focused on pediatric healthcare.

Pediatric nurse practitioners are licensed specialty nurse practitioners that have completed a bachelor’s degree, as well as a graduate degree nurse practitioner program that solely focuses on the healthcare needs of children.

Physician associates (also called physician assistants) who specialize in pediatrics complete a bachelor’s degree, a physician associate program (allowing them to practice on patients of all ages), and a fellowship program to give them a certificate of added qualification in pediatrics.

All disciplines are knowledgeable about developmental milestones, growth patterns, and the physical, emotional, and social needs of children.

Pediatric specialists are highly attuned to both children’s preventative and curative care. All pediatric providers encourage parents to come in for regular checkups, known as well child checks, and vaccinations. These routine appointments allow the provider to monitor your child’s growth and catch any potential health problems early. This also allows them to educate and offer necessary immunizations that protect your child against serious diseases.

In pediatric clinics, providers and nurses alike are familiar with vaccine schedules and know how to give children the best possible vaccine experience. If there ever becomes a time where your child becomes ill, with either an acute or chronic illness, these providers have the education and experience to get your family answers quickly and without pause.

Many pediatric offices are also equipped to handle the unique mental health needs of children. Childhood is a time of rapid physical and emotional growth and development. Pediatric providers often collaborate closely with in-house pediatric psychologists and counselors. This allows your child to receive both physical and emotional care within the same familiar clinic with the same familiar staff.

Lastly, pediatric providers can provide overall support and guidance to parents. Being a parent is challenging and it is not uncommon to have questions or concerns about your child’s healthcare needs.  Pediatric offices will provide guidance on topics such as general health, breastfeeding, sleep, nutrition, and discipline. They also have the tools to provide resources and referrals to other healthcare professionals if the need arises.

It is important to be mindful of you and your family’s personal healthcare goals and needs. By having a better understanding of your options, you will be able to determine if a pediatric specialist is the right choice for you.

– Taylor Powell, BSN, RN is the clinic administrator at Health West Pediatrics in Pocatello, ID. The clinic is accepting new patients. Appointments can be scheduled at or by calling (208) 232-3355.



Skip to content