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How To Visit the Doctor

How To Visit the Doctor
Director of Health + Beauty, Wendy Nielsen, thinks reality TV and her iPhone are just as important as air, wants to kick cancer in it’s shins and a huge girlcrush on Gwen Stefani. Twitter: @Wendy_Nielsen

Here’s the thing…I go to the doctor a lot. Enough to usually meet our yearly medical deductible in January. So, I think I know a thing or two about visiting the doctor and how to get the best out of your appointment.

You’ll agree with me that your face-to-face time with your doctor is usually at the speed of light, right? The time spent with patients, on the average, is anywhere from 8-20 minutes. Doctors are usually scheduled to see a patient every 10 minutes and are typically doubled book. These things work against patients. So it’s best to be prepared.

Now, the appointments I’m talking about are your run-of-the-mill yearly visits or physicals. If you are too sick to function and are in need of some meds STAT, then throw these guidelines out the window and get what you need and go home.

  • Bring a list of the names and dosages of the medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you are taking. My doctor always asks me how much calcium I take.  I can never remember because I get the dosage mixed up with the prescription vitamin D I take. Have the list handy if your doc asks or just give it to the nurse so that she can put it in your medical record.
  • Same goes for surgeries. If you haven’t had any, then you’re golden. But since I’ve had a few in my day, I just refer to my cheat sheet instead of sitting there – forms in hand – trying to remember if that appendectomy was in 2007 or 2008…or what that my tonsils? See what I mean?
  • Cool it on the internet searches. Come informed about whatever illness or medication you Googled but know your Harvard Medical trained M.D. might be dismissive if you start debating his findings with your own.
  • Prepare your list of questions ahead of time. I always do this and have it sitting in my lap so that he sees I have several things I want to discuss before he moves on to room three. This is also great in case you get side-tracked and realize as you’re getting your parking validated that you forgot to ask him some key concerns.
  • Stop the doctor if you have a question about whatever he’s telling you. Warning…this is where you can get side-tracked, but be sure you understand what his instructions are before you leave. Otherwise, you’ll end up buying that coconut oil and not quite know what he was suggesting you do with it (true story).
  • Doctors are notorious for interrupting because they need to move on to the next patient. Know this ahead of time. If you can deal with that kind of communication style, then great, but find another doctor if it isn’t.
  • This is the best one…always ask what your doctor’s personal opinion is. I find this works with any of the doctors I see. I ask “would you give your own wife, daughter, mother, sister this same advice?” I find that it breaks down that professional wall a bit and you can get a better answer to your concern.

Another couple of good tips I’ve learned along the way: fax or email your questions before your appointment (some doctors are open to this and some are not – ask their office staff when you make an appointment) and record your conversation with a recording app for your smart phone (be sure to ask the doctor for his permission first).

Here’s to your next successful doctor appointment!
– Wendy

Disclosure: On occasion, contributors of The Trend Tribe receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence the contributor’s point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the reviewers experience. The opinions are their own. 

Photo Source: istockphoto

Wendy (30 Posts)

With a deep love for fonts and Foo Fighters, Wendy thinks coffee and her iPhone are just as important as air, that cancer sucks and mornings are overrated. @Wendy_Nielsen

One Comment

  1. I totally turned to these points for my doctor’s appointment last week! She was so impressed (and shocked) that I was well prepared. I guess there is a first for everything.

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