Family Practitioner vs. Pediatrician

We are considering a family practitioner for our two daughters (15 months and three years). What are your thoughts on using a family practitioner vs. a pediatrician?


Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

The answer to your question has no right or wrong answer. There are pros and cons in each health care provider:


Pediatricians go through 4 years of medical school, 3 years of specialty training specifically in the care of people from birth to age 21, and must pass a boards exam from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Their training is specific for children which makes their expertise greater. In addition, the office and staff will tend to be geared more toward children as well.


Family practice physicians go through 4 years of medical school, 3 years of training in the care all people including pregnant women, and must pass the boards exam from the American Academy Of Family Physicians. Their training is more broad to have exposure to people of all ages. This has the distinct advantage that if the whole family is ill, you only need to see one doctor. The family practice doctor may have better insight into issues involving the whole family since he treats all of them.

Jon, ultimately who you chose to be your daughters' physician should be doctor specific. There are family practice physicians that know more than some pediatricians, and there are numerous pediatricians who are attune to the family as a whole.

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