How Do I Switch Doctors?
I'd like to switch doctors because I've been seeing a pediatrician. At what age do most people switch, and how?
There's no set age for switching from a pediatrician to an adult doctor — it can be whenever a person feels ready. Most pediatricians stop seeing patients who are between the ages of 18 and 21, so you'll need to make the switch eventually. Now is a good time to take the first step and start getting involved in making decisions about your health.
Pediatricians are trained to treat teens, so it's perfectly fine to continue to see yours as long as you feel comfortable. But some people find it harder to connect with their childhood doctors as they get older. If you think you've outgrown your pediatrician, talk to your parents about making a switch. If you're up for it, tell your pediatrician that you'll be moving on. They may have some suggestions about other doctors for you.
You may decide that you want to see a health care provider who specializes in caring for teens. Adolescent medicine specialists have extra training in the medical and emotional issues that many teens face. Can't find one in your area? Don't worry — family practitioners or internists can help you too. Ask your parents or older siblings to suggest doctors, or get recommendations from your school nurse.