How To Make The Most Of A Doctor's Appointment

Posted on: 12 March 2020

Booking an appointment with your doctor can be the first step towards treating or curing an illness or injury. However, these appointments can be short, and it can be difficult to remember what to say. By following the tips below, you can make the most of an appointment with your doctor.

Choose The Right Doctor

In order to make the most of a short appointment with a doctor, you need to make sure that a doctor is the right one for you. For example, you need to feel that you are believed when you talk about your symptoms and that your feelings are respected. You need to feel that your concerns are taken seriously. If a doctor is not right for you, don't be afraid to seek another one. You should also think about whether a doctor is right for you personally — for example, if you would be too embarrassed to speak about a problem to a male doctor, ask for a female one. As the Sydney Morning Herald explains, around half of GPs are female, so your surgery should have one. If you feel embarrassed or awkward when talking to your doctor, you won't get the most out of the appointment.

Keep A Symptom Diary

Keeping a diary of your symptoms before an appointment will be helpful when you want to explain your symptoms to the doctor. Write down exactly what your symptoms are, and what they are like — for example, write "dry, tickly cough" rather than just "cough" or "sharp, stabbing pain in the upper thigh" rather than just "pain". You should also record the time, frequency and severity as well as anything else interesting, such as whether it happens during rest, after food, when tired or at night. If your condition may be related to food, such as an allergy, you could keep a food diary too — Family Doctor has a good article on how to do this. Keeping a symptom diary will help you to say everything you need to during the appointment.

Be Completely Honest

If you want a doctor's appointment to be truly worthwhile, you need to be completely honest with them. Tell them about all the symptoms you have been having, even if you find them embarrassing. Remember, doctors have generally heard everything before and will not judge you. You should also be honest about your lifestyle and whether you can do certain things. For example, if you never exercise, don't say that you exercise five times a week, as this will prevent the doctor from making the best suggestions to you. If you feel that you have tried a certain treatment or lifestyle change, and it did not impact your condition, then be honest about that too.

If you choose a doctor who you can be comfortable with, keep a diary of symptoms so you can clearly explain what is going on and be fully honest with your doctor, you can easily make the most of even a short appointment.