THREE LESSONS I’VE LEARNED AFTER 18 YEARS AS A PEDIATRICIAN - MCR Health

THREE LESSONS I’VE LEARNED AFTER 18 YEARS AS A PEDIATRICIAN

HEIDI L. KUNSTMAN, MD

The first time I saw a patient on my own, I was terrified. Even though, I had passed my exams and completed years of medical school, studying and training to diagnose and treat almost everything under the sun—I still couldn’t shake the doubt. 

But after successfully completing my first visit and seeing my first young patient’s toothless smile, I got into my groove, and I realized that I was born for pediatric care. 

After almost two decades later, this field has taught me numerous important lessons, and I want to share some of the most important ones with you today.

THE GOAL IS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

As a pediatrician, one of my main priorities is to provide positive experiences for my patients. I believe their pediatric visits greatly influence their attitude towards doctors, healthcare professionals, and most importantly, towards their own health and well-being as they grow and become adults.

In fact, according to Guidelines Health, “Pediatricians play a significant role not only in child development, but also on the wellness and stability of the family and community.”

One of the most satisfying aspects of pediatrics is assisting kids and watching them grow up. Many times, my former patients eventually have their own beautiful children. It is then that I’m given the greatest joy a pediatrician can imagine.

These former pediatric patients of mine bring in their own children for care because of their experience working with me. 

It’s a special occurrence that I’ve witnessed several times, and it’s one of the most rewarding parts of my career.

To me, it demonstrates that my patients trust me and value my work ethic. It shows that the relationships I cultivated with my patients meant so much to them that they trust me with their own children’s pediatric needs. 

As a pediatrician, this is what I’m always striving for, and I hope to make many new, lasting relationships with patients and their families at Venice Pediatrics.

THE ATMOSPHERE HAS AN INFLUENCE

One of the most surprising lessons I learned early on was that I’m not the only aspect of the pediatric experience. Even if I, as the pediatrician, perform my role perfectly, there are other factors that can affect patient experience.

Personally, I’ve found that the environment, the atmosphere of the office can ruin what might otherwise have been a perfect visit.

If the office is dirty or if the front desk staff is rude, it won’t matter how caring I am or how efficient my treatment may be. Thankfully, at MCR Health, our collective goal is to give an exceptional experience to every person who walks through our doors. 

What this means is that here at the Venice office, my staff strives to provide premier customer service not only to patients, but also to their parents. That’s our number one priority. That’s why I’m so grateful that my staff treats everyone with respect and courtesy, two things that go a long way in the field of pediatrics.

A CHILD’S VOICE MUST BE HEARD

Another vital lesson that I learned and continue to prioritize in my daily work of providing care for children is that the children need to be heard. 

It is natural for parents to speak on behalf of their child/children, but this could sometimes lead to parents unintentionally preventing their child/children from the full opportunity of the pediatric visit.

What are these opportunities? Great question!

In the eyes of a child, the pediatrician represents the entire medical field. The pediatrician is the person they think of when they don’t feel well or simply when they have questions regarding their body.

When the child is able to speak for himself/herself, I always give him/her the opportunity to be heard. I believe it is important to give children the chance to express themselves directly to the pediatrician.

When children and adolescents get the chance to talk to their pediatricians about their symptoms or health problems, it turns children into active participants in their own health. By receiving medical advice directly, children begin to recognize the personal role that they can play in their own health and in making themselves feel better.

Moreover, being able to speak for themselves, children also gain a certain sense of autonomy and personal investment in the health process. This means they’ll be more likely to make a personal effort to take care of their own health. Even more so, having these early positive encounters with a pediatrician also influences their future experiences with doctors, allowing children to understand the process more fully.

At Venice Pediatrics, I do this with all of my patients. When children can do so, I believe it’s important to give them the chance to speak directly to their pediatrician. This benefits their health in both the short-term and the long-term.

I would also like to emphasize that giving them a voice to be heard does not mean parents being absent from the process. The information parents provide is invaluable and their presence in the child’s growth and development is very important.

WHY I’M AT MCR HEALTH

As a caring pediatrician who’s passionate about children’s healthcare, I am ecstatic to be practicing at Venice Pediatrics. In fact, I’m ecstatic to just be a partof the MCR Health family. MCR Health’s focus on the community of Venice resonates with me on a deep level.

Since I’ve started practicing at Venice Pediatrics, MCR Health and this community have welcomed me with nothing but love. Furthermore, I’ve found that like me, MCR Health values their patients and aims to cultivate a lasting relationship with their patients and their families.

So if you’re searching for superior healthcare from a caring pediatrician who will help your children, please come visit us at Venice Pediatrics.

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