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How to Choose a Pediatrician

Guest Bio: Margarita Mankus, MD
Dr. Margarita Mankus is board certified in pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences, located in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Dr. Mankus then completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences, located in Chicago, IL.

In addition to her education, Dr. Mankus is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Women's Association. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Dr. Mankus sees patients at Riverside Pediatric Specialists, located at 475 Brown Boulevard, Suite 106 in Bourbonnais, IL.
    How to Choose a Pediatrician
    Dr. Margarita Manjus explains how a pediatrician differs from a family practice doctor, where to look for a pediatrician and how to find the right pediatrician that fits your needs.

    Katie Salwei (Host): Well Within Reach is brought to you by Riverside MyChart, your simple, secure, and confidential online health connection. With just a click, Riverside MyChart lets you stay well connected to the same information your doctor sees. You can request prescription refills, pay your bill, schedule your next appointment and more. Manage your care from your laptop, tablet, or phone. Whether for yourself, your kids, or the grandparents, MyChart makes your busy life just a little easier. Learn more and enroll today at riversidemychart.org, just another way to stay Well Connected from Riverside Healthcare.

    Thank you for tuning into the Well Within Reach podcast. I’m your host, Katie Salwei, and joining me today is Dr. Margarita Mankus, pediatrician with the Riverside Medical Group. Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Mankus.

    Dr. Margarita Mankus (Guest): It’s no problem. It’s a pleasure to – to speak with you.

    Host: So to start off, can you tell our audience a little bit about yourself, where you’re originally from?

    Dr. Mankus: Sure so I’m originally from Lisle, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago, kind of southwest suburb, I grew up there with my parents. Let’s see – I guess I finished my medical – my residency training in pediatrics, I finished at UIC Downtown Chicago, so recently moved from the city. I love – I have loved working in Bourbonnais. I think it’s a really nice town. I’ve really enjoyed working with all the patients here and look forward to meeting more.

    Host: That’s great. So how did you get into pediatrics?

    Dr. Mankus: Pediatrics – I always knew I wanted to be a pediatrician. I’ve always been pretty stubborn about that [laughter]. I love kids. I love that they’re – I love that they’re so resilient. I love that they’re so energic even when they’re sick and I love caring for them. I love interacting with parents. I love answering questions. So yeah, I’ve always sort of known that I wanted to do pediatrics.

    Host: Well that’s great. Then it makes our topic hopefully pretty easy for you. So today we’re going to be talking about how to find a pediatrician. So let’s start with, what is a pediatrician?

    Dr. Mankus: That’s a great question. So a pediatrician is a very specific type of medical doctor who basically is a specialist in children. So we have very specific training in the medical needs of children as opposed to other adults or –

    Host: As opposed to family practice?

    Dr. Mankus: Right, so the difference between pediatricians and family practice is that pediatricians we get kind of additional specific training that’s focused only on kids, so it’s an additional 3 year training after medical school is completed. So we rotate in different areas of pediatrics that are, again, only working with kids. So we have a lot of extensive experience in the neonatal intensive care unit or the pediatrician intensive care unit, so those are experiences that are unique to people who have done training in pediatrics and that we’ve learned a lot about how to take care of sick kids and kids in all sorts of different settings.

    Host: Well as a parent that definitely puts me at ease to know you have extra training in that. So when looking for a pediatrician, is there something I should be looking for?

    Dr. Mankus: Absolutely – absolutely, so first of all what I would say is it’s never usually too early to look for a pediatrician. I think that – am I’m glad that you bring that up- I think that even before the baby is born, I think it’s important to start to ask questions and to look for a pediatrician that would be a good fit for you because after the baby goes home from the hospital, they usually – we usually have follow up pretty close after you guys get discharged, usually within about 72 hours, so it’s good to kind of start that conversation early and start looking for things, but the big thing that I’ll say is just trust your instincts. So a pediatrician you want – obviously it’s important that you want a pediatrician that’s going to be a really good fit for you, someone that you can really trust and you communicate well with. This is your child, this is your child’s health, so it’s important to find a pediatrician that you really click well with, who takes the time to listen to you, that answers your questions, who communicates well with you, and so I think it’s a decision that should be made with enough time.

    Host: Oh definitely. So I’ve heard of these meet and greets – can I schedule, can you schedule meet and greets with your pediatrician to kind of find out if you’ve found the right one or how does that work?

    Dr. Mankus: Absolutely – absolutely and I think that’s a great resource and something that I would love parents to know more about, but like I say after the baby’s born, the follow up with the pediatrician is really quickly after going home from the hospital. So the meet and greet is an opportunity during the pregnancy or before having the first visit with the pediatrician is just what it says, a meet and greet. It’s a time to get to know the pediatrician, to meet the pediatrician, to ask questions, maybe to ask some of the things that would be important for you when you’re looking for a pediatrician. So we offer, it’s a 15 minute appointment that you can schedule with our office. So basically it’s just a 15 minute time slot for you guys to come in and meet the pediatrician and ask important questions and get to know them a little bit better before the baby comes.

    Host: That’s definitely a great idea and something I wish I would have thought of. But kind of moving on asking those questions, what questions should I be asking this pediatrician just to kind of see if we jive well?

    Dr. Mankus: Yes, that’s great. That’s also a great question, but some important things that – so it’s important to ask about – first of all get to know the pediatrician to see how they communicate with you. For example, who would take care of the child if the pediatrician’s not available? Is there emergency coverage for example? Is there emergency coverage that’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? If I have questions, how can I contact the pediatrician? Is there a way to get in touch with my pediatrician when I think of questions? I also say to look for – I think that it’s important to know your pediatrician’s qualifications, so what kind of training have they gotten? I always think it’s important to check to make sure that the pediatrician is board certified, if there’s a particular hospital that the pediatrician’s affiliated with, so that in case – if the child does get sick, what hospital are they affiliated with or what options are there for when the child gets sick?

    Host: Okay, those are some great questions to think about as you’re preparing for baby to come. So in this area around Kankakee, where could I look to find a pediatrician?

    Dr. Mankus: That’s also a great question. So at Riverside Medical Group, we have 4 board certified pediatricians, so Dr. Jonas, Dr. Leahy-Auer and myself. We’re all located in Bourbonnais at the Bourbonnais campus of Riverside, and then Dr. Batista is also a pediatrician who’s located in the Kankakee campus. So we’re all available through Riverside. I’m sure that talking to your OB for expectant mothers or expectant parents, OB/GYN is also a great source of different options of pediatricians in the area, but I think there’s lots of good resources and for any questions, taking the time to get to know them ahead of time would be great.

    Host: Definitely, and there’s also something unique about you and Dr. Batista, you both are certified in being able to practice in Spanish, is that correct?

    Dr. Mankus: That’s correct, yeah, that’s correct.

    Host: So that’s defiantly a good thing for people to know in this area if they’re needing that additional language. So is there a way that they can schedule an appointment with you or how does that work?

    Dr. Mankus: Absolutely – absolutely, so you can call – so to call – you can call the number to schedule an appointment any time. There is a way to schedule appointments online and then you can also call 855-404-3627.

    Host: Okay, and that 3627, that’s our 404-DOCS number which is our physician referral line. So if you’re not sure which one you’re going to – pediatrician you’re kind of looking for, you can go ahead and call that number and they can help you find somebody, connect you right into the office. Dr. Mankus is there anything else that I may have missed in what you should really look for in finding a pediatrician?

    Dr. Mankus: I don’t think so. I think the big thing I just want parents to know is again I think it’s a difficult and important decision and especially with kids, this is your child’s health and ideally I think your – your relationship with your pediatrician is a long term one, so I think it’s important to take the time to make the decision and don’t be afraid to ask questions because there’s – I think it’s a relationship that you really want to – that you really want to establish and maintain and grow with that pediatrician so definitely don’t be afraid to ask questions and take the time to meet with them.

    Host: Okay, well thank you so much Dr. Mankus for joining with us today and thank you for tuning in to the Well Within Reach podcast with pediatrician Dr. Margarita Mankus, and your host Katie Salwei, be sure to tune in for part 2 of our series, the importance of childhood immunizations. This will be available at riversidehealthcare.org.