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How to Work Effectively with Doctors/Specialists

This is such a necessary part of spoonie life, but it definitely can be one of the worst parts. I am still learning the fine art of doctor-patient relationships but I will share with you what I know so far.

How to Work Effectively with Doctors as a Patient

  1. Understand that doctors are people, too.
    Doctors are not miracle workers, usually. They are human, so remind them about your case if they forget and remember that they are (probably) doing their best.
  2. Don’t expect too much.
    All doctors want their patients to have positive outcomes. It looks good for them if they’re helping their patients so they have a real motivation to give you the best care that they can. That being said, there is very rarely a magic potion to cure your ailments. They feel frustrated and disappointed when your treatment doesn’t work also. If you go in with lowish expectations you will have a better chance of being happily surprised, as harsh as that may sound.
  3. Don’t quote things you read on the internet, unless it is a proper peer-reviewed article.
    This is a definite doctor pet peeve. It is good to research your symptoms and illnesses, but be wary of your sources. Scientific journals can be hard to understand but it is important that you find valid information before bringing it up to your doctor.
  4. Be honest about everything.
    The good, the bad, the ugly. Some of our symptoms and side effects are pretty gross. Whether they be bowel issues or other unflattering situations, it is imperative that you share these and other concerns with your physician. They can’t help problems that they don’t know exist. Even things that you don’t think are important, tell them anyway. The more information the doctor has, the better the potential outcome.
  5. Keep records of symptoms.
    Doctors enjoy this. They need to know when the symptoms started, how severe they were, how long they lasted and what seemed to help them. These records help the doctor identify if they are side effects to medications or if they are a brand new symptom or a new condition altogether. Keep track of these things!
  6. Be a patient patient.
    This is something I’m still working on, as patience is a virtue I may have not inherited. I feel like I’m constantly waiting and always phoning and leaving messages for doctors. It becomes infuriating to say the least. That being said, try to not take your frustration out on the receptionist, nurse, or physician. It may not be their fault, and they will all appreciate your patience.
  7. Kill them with kindness.
    Going along with the patience, even when it may kill you, kill them with kindness. They will likely be much easier to deal with if you are pleasant with them. Remember that you have the power to change not only your day, but theirs as well. Change it for the good. You’ll never lose by being nice.
  8. Thank them in writing.
    Writing a thank you card is always a good idea. If they helped you in a substantial way, it’s always nice to let them know you appreciated their treatment. It’s a classy move that may pay off in the future!

That’s what I have for today! Any other hints you think I should add?
Have a great day! :)

Courtney

Courtney

Hey! My name is Courtney and I am a wife, a mom to a pup and cat, and I just happen to have a few chronic illnesses that have drastically changed my life. I've gained a brand new perspective of life and who I want to be while I face these new challenges. I am so excited about this new phase and meeting fellow Chronic Warriors! Please join me! Love and Gentle Hugs xx Courtney

2 thoughts on “How to Work Effectively with Doctors/Specialists

  1. Couldn’t agree more with all of this! Great post! It can be so difficult to get the doctor-patient relationship right when also dealing with difficult symptoms that don’t always respond to treatment, but it’s so important.. Jess x

  2. This is really helpful. I realized I’ve never sent a thank you note and there are a few instances I wish I had. Something for the future. Fingers crossed there will be a thank you note worthy situation in the near future.

    I would add, if you are seeing several specialists you’d really like them to be communicating with each other or at least with your PCP. That should happen, but it doesn’t always. Sometimes you need to help that connection along. Summarizing what is going on with your other doctors at the beginning of a visit can help. “Dr. Neurologist” is concerned about [thing], so he’s going to do a [test of thing] to check for [cause] on [date]. Dr. Hematologist…. etc”. If you write it down or memorize it beforehand you can get that info across in a minute or two.

    Also, if you have multiple illnesses or an illness that requires several types of doctors, a primary care doctor who has ability keep track of that and communicate with other doctors is invaluable.

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