At what age do you suggest your patients find a “grown-up” doctor?

Other specialties used to accuse pediatricians of being afraid of pubic hair. I know we’re better than that now, but many of us who see teen-agers and their parents through that difficult time still bid them farewell when they turn 18 and head off to college.

I have experienced this transitional time from both sides and feel strongly that you should continue to “be there” for your patients going off to college. I believe pediatricians should prepare students for college not only by doing a pre-college physical exam but also by talking about how to handle responsibly the freedom they are about to experience. The most logical time for a young person to shift to adult care, I believe, is upon completion of undergraduate study, when patients are unlikely to return to their hometown.

I have been a...

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