Insider Tips on Dealing with Doctors

Consider these DO’S and DON’TS when visiting a Physician’s office, Out-patient care center including Urgent care and Emergency Departments (ED):


1. Before going to seek medical help prepare a 8.5″x11″ sheet printed in a large font containing the following:

  • Top of the page: date of visit, your name and birth date.
  • Reason for the visit-main reason you are seeking medical attention.
  • In bullet form list the following specifics about your chief compliant: how long had the problem, what makes it come on, what seems to make it better, what you have tried to help problem [ex. OTC products by name, action (s)].
  •  New heading: Medications-all currently taking with dose and time you take them, include OTC pills
  • List ALL active medical problem you are treated for, ex. High Blood Pressure. Make a copy of this page:as you’ll hand one to go on your medical chart and you use your copy to talk to doctor.

2. Keep in your wallet a credit card size typed or clearly printed list of your current medications with Allergies in red. List your medical history including problems you take medication for on the reverse side. Remember to be clear and honest-taking meds for high blood pressure still means you have that medical problem. Include previous surgeries. State if you are an organ donor.

3. If humanly possible-Go into the exam room alone Medical care is not a SOCIAL event!! You are independent competent and capable. Another person is a distraction to everyone. Plus the message sent is you are not trusted alone for important matters. Office staff may interpreted that you need assistance memory-wise. If you want something explained to your companion in the waiting room ask the nurse before you leave the exam room

4. Read all instructions before leaving the exam room/ED of hospital or back office area. Ask any question for clarification to your total satisfaction. No question is stupid –it is your body we are talking about!  People who do something over and over often speak fast and move fast. Remember once you are off premise you’ll have a more difficult time getting someone to explain over the phone.



1. Never say you “Need” a test or medication. And Don’t take the tact “What do you think…” it will be seen as a trap. Rather say “Doctor do you think… ”

2. Never complain about waiting. Doctors are human have to eat use bathroom and don’t forget all the phone calls-from ER hospital other patient emergencies. Never forget they too want to get out of work to have a ‘life.’  If doctor appears rushed, hassled or is interrupted while with you- Relax your the fellow human with “I appreciate your time” remember he needs to think about how to care for you without outside pressures.

3. You Pick your Doctor-don’t trust someone else to chose who will care for your health! Here are a few considerations that may assist you in  finding a medical practitioner you may feel comfortable with:

  • When you call for an appointment how the front office handles it.
  • When you arrive, your immediate sense of  the office setting, ex. cleanliness indicators of efficiency, patient flow and organization, staff manner, pleasant, genuine or burnt out!

Remember: Staff is a reflection of the doctor—Actions and care flow from the Doctor out to you

4. Never Demand antibiotics most infections especially ear and sinus infections are caused by viruses and antibiotics will not help. We have so many bacteria resistant to antibiotic as a result of prescribing them for the slightest illness. After all Don’t you trust your caregiver?



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