As much as I’d love to be living in sandy and sunny denial, the start of the 2017-2018 school year is less than one month away. For our family, that means kindergarten, which will undoubtedly bring tears (mine) and a million more milestone moments for our twins, Sadie and Patrick.
But before we get to kindergarten, we need to do some work.
I don’t mean practicing our letters and numbers, though I did run out and buy 12 prep books after a mini-mommy panic attack one Sunday afternoon. I mean paperwork. When I went to register my kids for school I received two stacks of 28 pages, filled with hundreds of questions about everything from food allergies to favorite preschool subjects, and two folders containing school physical forms, which would clearly necessitate a doctor’s appointment in our not-too-distant future.
I felt overwhelmed; my husband felt certain those packets would end up in the bottom of our junk drawer until mid-August. He told me to make a pediatrician appointment that very day because “you know you won’t be able to get in there if you wait too long.” I ignored him because, to be completely honest, going to the pediatrician with five year old twins is nothing short of a nightmare.
Luckily, my husband was wrong about my procrastination. Our paperwork is done and submitted. Sadie and Patrick sailed through the physicals with smiles and a swag bag (seriously!) However, I can’t exactly take all the credit for proving him wrong. The RediClinic inside our local Rite Aid truly changed the game for my pre-kindergarten prep by getting us in and out of two school physicals in under one hour and on only one day’s notice.
If you haven’t heard of the RediClinic yet, don’t worry. I didn’t know about it until two days before our appointment when NJMOM invited me to check out RediClinic’s location in Red Bank, New Jersey.
And yes, I was a bit skeptical. Like most first-time parents, my husband and I never considered healthcare options outside of the pediatrician’s office unless it was an absolute emergency. But I was intrigued too, especially after perusing the RediClinic website. Could I really schedule an appointment online for a half hour appointment that would 100% fulfill the requirements of our school physical forms? Apparently, yes! And even better, online appointments are available – often for the same exact day you sign on to make one. If you’re in a real bind, they even welcome walk-ins, open appointments permitting.
Of course, my research didn’t end there.
I learned in just a few clicks that RediClinic is in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health. That means their clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners licensed to diagnose, treat, and, when appropriate, prescribe medications for more than 30 common medical conditions. The nurse practitioners, who are employees of Hackensack Meridian, can also administer a broad range of preventive services, including health screenings, medical tests, immunizations, and basic physical exams, including back-to-school and sports physicals. Furthermore, these practitioners are board-certified with physician oversight. Most major insurance plans are accepted at RediClinic – a standard doctor’s visit copay for routine illnesses and most immunizations. The clinics are open seven days a week, including extended weekday hours, which is a game changer for all the busy NJMOMs I know!
I decided to truly put RediClinic to the test by trying to make two Monday afternoon appointments for Sadie and Patrick on Sunday morning. I expected to see a big red “X” and a notification that nothing was available, but instead I was able to book the 12:00 PM and a 12:30 PM in under five minutes flat. RediClinic sent confirmations to my phone via text and to my email, with the option to add the appointment to my Google calendar. Of course I said yes; I mean, raise your hand if you haven’t completely blanked on one of your kid’s appointments, right?
We arrived on Monday afternoon at 11:46 AM, just shy of the recommended 15 minutes early. The staff greeted me warmly and immediately handed my kids coloring sheets and crayons to keep them happily occupied while I handled the patient intake process. Normally that means a clipboard loaded with information demands and lots of license and insurance photocopying; at the Rediclinic the process was completely painless. I answered a few quick questions on a touchscreen, relayed my payment information and we were ready to step into the nurse practitioner’s office.
One thing I must admit: I totally felt like I was cheating on my pediatrician.
At one point I asked, in a slightly hushed tone, if RediClinics would or could eventually replace pediatricians completely. The nurse practitioner assured me that RediClinic’s goal is to supplement and complement the care offered by the doctors we normally see, not eradicate it. RediClinic wants to work with primary care doctors to make high quality healthcare convenient and affordable for anyone and everyone who needs it. Her prime example was essentially me, the over-scheduled parent who is usually scrambling to get his or her children ready for school or a first soccer practice. Plus she added the benefit of quick pick up for prescriptions and last-minute items on the seemingly never-ending back-to-school list.
As you can see, Sadie and Patrick had an almost oddly good time at RediClinic.
They sailed through scales and scans with smiles, which took the pressure off of me! I felt comfortable to answer questions about their medical history and ask a few of my own – mostly about birthmarks and a broken blood vessel on Sadie’s cheek. Prior to our appointment, I wondered if I would have a chance to address my “non-emergency” concerns for the kids or if I would need to save them for our next well visit with the pediatrician. RediClinic’s team assured me that no questions were off limits and that they would direct me to seek out a specialist if necessary. I truly appreciated their honesty and ability to go a little deeper than the physical forms.
Before our appointment ended, the nurse practitioner asked if Sadie and Patrick were due for immunizations. I honestly wasn’t sure; the explanatory chart for kindergarten-required doses had me slightly confused. The nurse practitioner went through the document with me carefully and determined we weren’t in need of any additional shots. My kids were thrilled, of course, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we could have completed our immunizations at the RediClinic that very day if we needed to.
I’m guessing you can tell I am RediClinic at Rite Aid’s newest superfan.
I can’t help myself; I keep thinking of all the different scenarios where RediClinic would save the day. From moms with jam-packed schedules to moms with budgetary concerns, from moms guilty of procrastination to moms who just want a quick and convenient appointment for sanity preservation, RediClinic is a life changer.
Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are our own.