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Questions for the Experts: Pediatrician or a family medicine doctor

Questions for the Experts: Pediatrician or a family medicine doctor

We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they hear from their patients. Read Francesca McCaffrey, DO, answer to: Should I take my child to a pediatrician or a family medicine doctor?

A: There are advantages to seeking care from both pediatricians and family medicine doctors. Pediatrics is the practice of medicine, which focuses on the health and well-being of children, from birth to adulthood. Pediatric care can be provided by both pediatricians and family medicine providers.

Pediatricians spend at least three years after medical school caring exclusively for children, focusing on the physical, emotional, and social health of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults up to age 21. Some pediatricians continue to see their patients into their early 20's if they have special needs or developmental disabilities. As children grow older, pediatricians see kids for health supervision of proper growth and childhood development, provide guidance about disease prevention and wellness, and give vaccines for protection against serious diseases. At age 21, your pediatrician can help you find an adult medicine or women’s health provider that can take over your child’s care.

Both pediatricians and family medicine doctors also provide urgent visits for sick symptoms, including seasonal respiratory illnesses, viral syndromes, ear infections, rashes, and migraines.

Family medicine providers are uniquely trained to care for both adults and children in many different aspects of health. One difference between a pediatrician and family medicine provider is that a smaller portion of a family medicine doctor's training is focused on disease and chronic illness in children. Family medicine providers receive training on caring for children, but they also learn about women’s health, obstetrics, critically ill adults, and the elderly. They can perform minor surgical procedures, deliver babies, and manage many common health conditions. A family medicine doctor can provide care for both you and your children, getting to know your family’s health history and issues. It can be convenient to see just one doctor and develop a long-term relationship with them. This provider becomes an important part of your family, caring for all of your family’s healthcare needs.

The most important thing, whether you choose a pediatrician or family medicine provider, is to find someone you trust.

Dr. Francesca McCaffrey is a pediatrician at Campbell County Medical Group Pediatrics Clinic located in the Main Clinic at 501 S. Burma Avenue in Gillette, Wyoming, on the south side of Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Our Pediatrics Clinic is accepting new patients and are passionate about your child’s health and well-being. Call 307.688.3636 for an appointment. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/peds.