How to Be Prepared for Healthcare Discussions

How to Be Prepared for Healthcare Discussions

“How can I best be prepared for conversations with my doctor? I know her time is valuable, but I have several things I’d like to discuss.” – B.G. Meridian, ID

Dear B.G.,

This is such an important topic! You are right – your doctor’s time is valuable and so is yours. Being prepared for your appointment keeps the conversation on track and ensures that your concerns will be addressed. You and your doctor must work as a team.

First, and most important, write it down! Jot down, on a single piece of paper, all of the items you’d like to discuss with your doctor. Anything from physical symptoms, to your thoughts and feelings, to prescriptions that you’d like renewed or that perhaps need adjustment.

When listing symptoms, note the symptom, when it started, the duration, how often you notice the symptom and if it is disruptive to your daily routine.

Also bring with you a list of medications and dosages, including over-the-counter medicine. Having one list for your doctor to review is very helpful, especially when you may have multiple doctors prescribing medications. Include information such as how much of a medication you take and how often. If you feel you are having side effects, write them down.

If you visit your doctor every few months, keep a running list of things you may want to address, then review your list a few days before your visit. It’s hard to remember everything when you are sitting in the waiting room.

Consider giving a copy of your notes to the nurse upon arrival for your appointment. That will give your doctor a preview of topics you’d like to cover.

I hope these pointers help. It’s important to be an advocate for your own healthcare and work with your doctor.

Stay Well,

Nurse Allison

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