Advocating for Yourself at Your Doctor's Appointment


Your doctor sees many patients per day and it’s common to walk away from a doctor’s appointment feeling rushed and maybe even a bit discouraged. Establishing a trusting and honest relationship with your doctor is essential to your ongoing health. A positive relationship with your doctor means you feel heard, and you are comfortable asking your questions. Your time with your doctor should help to reduce your concerns and stress.

Check out these helpful pointers to strengthen your advocacy skills at the doctor’s office:

  1. Describe your health concerns. When scheduling your appointment, let the medical staff know that you have a number of questions or topics to cover so they consider scheduling a longer appointment if needed.
  2. Provide your doctor with as much information as possible. It’s important to be as open and honest as possible so your doctor can make informed decisions and suggestions to help you feel better.
  3. Write down your questions ahead of time. Before the appointment, jot down the questions you will be asking when you see the doctor and bring the list with you. Tell your doctor you’d like to get through all the questions on the list before the appointment is over.
  4. Disagree if you feel it's necessary. You know yourself the best. Ask your doctor to provide additional information when you have questions about their recommendations.
  5. Trust your gut. If you feel like you and your doctor are just not a good match, don’t hesitate to look for a new one. It's important you feel trusted, heard, and safe with your doctor. If they are not meeting your needs, switching doctors may be your next best option.

Seeing the doctor can be a stressful experience for many. Remember that you have options and steps you can take to better advocate for yourself before, during, and after the appointment.

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