Going into an appointment with your primary care physician can be nerve wracking. Previous negative experiences with doctors as well as general health anxiety can make it seem impossible to actually be heard in a doctor's appointment. Sometimes not enough care is given to health problems that are very real and present for you. Here are some ways to advocate for yourself and get your needs met at your next doctor's appointment.
Prepare a List of Concerns
This can seem like overkill, but a simple list of concerns can go a long way in a doctor's office. Not only can it help you to keep track of the things you would like to address, but it also shows your provider that you have many problems that you would like to have addressed. More often than not, providers are not going to press about every aspect of your health. This is why it's helpful to have your specific concerns ready to guide your visit.
Bring a Friend or Advocate
Sometimes going to the doctor is too much to do on your own. Your health is important and you may need another person there to advocate for you, especially if your nerves can get quite bad at the doctor's office. Fill your family member, friend, or advocate in on the concerns that you want to have addressed. Ask them to help you talk about everything before you leave the appointment.
Prepare Relevant Information
Sometimes, you may have information that would help your doctor understand what is going on. You may assume that other people will immediately understand your experience, but often keeping a log of symptoms or previous medical care can help you and your doctor get on the same page. If you need help knowing what kind of information to bring, consider contacting your doctor's office before the appointment to ask what would be helpful.
Be Honest and Assertive
Often, the only thing keeping you from getting the medical care you need is your nerves. Prepare to be honest and transparent with your doctor. Take time to calm down and prepare for your visit if you are especially anxious. Anxiety can get in the way of communicating, so make sure you are not in a rush to get to the appointment. You are an important part of your own medical care. Being ready to address your concerns can help you get the most out of your visit.
If your medical needs are still not being met after multiple visits, consider contacting the office outside of your visit. You may need to change doctors or find care at a different location. Your medical care is worth it.
Contact a primary care physician near you to learn more.
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