Get your doctor to listen

Do you have an appointment with your Dr. coming up? Well, whether it’s for a new condition or for a follow-up to a previously treated condition, you want to make sure your doctor listens to what your saying. You also want to make sure you’re expressing yourself properly. Being a paramedic for over 10 years, and having just finished my RN degree, I’ve seen first hand how important communication is in treating patients.

Doctors can be very busy, and in some cases not very understanding. Patients, on the other hand, can be understandably nervous, emotional and unprepared in communicating whats truly going on. Consumer Reports gives a few tips to ensure your doctor listens and understands you.

Get to the point:
Tell the doctor about your chief complaint (main problem) first, and don’t confuse the issue with unnecessary information.

Focus on one issue at a time:
Doctors schedule appointments long enough to deal with one issue at a time. If you have more than one problem to discuss you should ask your doctor if he has time to discuss it. If he doesn’t schedule another appointment.

Use clear, descriptive language:
Be prepared to describe to your doctor how long you’ve had the problem, how often it occurs, how long it lasts, and how severe it is. Be very specific.

Don’t embellish:
Don’t be the “boy who cried wolf”. Doctors can spot somebody over-acting and superlatives from a mile away.

Speak up:
Nothing gets doctors’ attention more quickly than a direct statement such as, “I feel like I’m not getting my point across to you, doc.” Most of them would rather hear what you’re thinking than have you leave the office angry or frustrated.


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