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Talking to Your Provider
your body
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Once you’ve found a provider, or if you already have a provider, you’ll need to develop an open and trusting relationship. You do so by talking to your provider in a direct and honest way. Your provider can only help you when he or she knows what’s going on with you and your body. Follow these tips during your provider’s appointment to get the most out of your visit

  • Even if you are uncomfortable, or embarrassed about something, you should tell your provider about it if you think something is pertinent to your health. For example, if your provider told you not to smoke because of a medication you’re on, but you smoked anyway and you feel sick, tell your provider that you smoked. Your provider isn’t going to reprimand you or get angry, he or she will only provide sound advice (that you should listen to!).
  • Tell your provider about all of the medications you take, including any alternative medicines and treatments.
  • Talk candidly about your history. Before you go to the provider, make sure you are up to date on the medical information in your family. Then, talk to your provider about these and other aspects of your personal history.
  • Ask questions. If you are unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes your provider won’t realize that you are confused. And, just because your provider went to medical school doesn’t mean that she learned how to read minds. So, if you are confused or have a question about your health, speak up and ask.
  • In order to remember all of the questions you have for the provider, make a list before your appointment. It’s frustrating when you know you have a question to ask, but you don’t remember it until after your provider is gone. Just like a grocery list, a list of questions for the provider will be a helpful reminder.
  • Take notes at the provider. Sometimes, your provider will give you a lot of information. It’s difficult to recall all of this information later on, when you need it. That’s why you might want to bring a notepad and a pen to jot down any major points while the provider is advising you. Many times patients who know that their provider will be giving them a lot of important information will bring a tape recorder to their office visit. If you decide that a tape recorder is the best option for you, remember to ask your provider for permission first.
  • Don’t feel rushed. You spent all of that time in the waiting room, and then you waited some more in the exam room! So, you deserve every bit of time you have with the provider. Don’t feel pressure to speak fast, and don’t avoid asking questions to save time. Make the most out of the minutes you have with the provider and don’t feel rushed. Make appointments on days when you know you don’t have pressing schedule conflicts so that you won’t feel stressed if your provider’s visit runs over an hour or so.
  • Ask your provider for additional information. If your provider tells you that you have a specific condition, inquire about it. Most provider’s offices will have brochures, pamphlets, and even videos, about various conditions. For example, if you have high blood pressure, your provider will be able to provide you with a brochure that discusses diet options and lifestyle changes that will help you control your blood pressure.
  • Listen to your provider. If your provider tells you to arrange special tests outside of the office, at a lab, then arrange for those tests immediately. If your provider tells you to see a specialist, ask for a reference (if you need one), and make an appointment. If your provider prescribes a medication, bring the prescription to your pharmacy and take the medicine as directed. Your provider’s advice is based on years of training, education and experience. Most of the time, this is the kind of advice you are going to want to heed. If you don’t trust your provider, you should probably find a provider that you do trust.

Click below to read about related topics.

How to Choose a Provider
Talking to Your Provider
Getting a Second Opinion
Types of Providers