by Jean Marino, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner and Co-Founder of The Menopause Retreat.
Finding a doctor who listens. I'm looking for two to three tips on how a patient can find a doctor who listens to them. Are there questions that a patient should ask themselves when choosing a doctor? Are there questions that a patient should ask the doctor during their first visit? Are there ways of knowing that a healthcare professional is not a good fit for a patient? Sometimes patients have issues with a healthcare provider's staff, is there a way to get around that?
Shopping for a healthcare provider is important. Spend as much time as you would shopping for a car or outfit for an important event. Afterall, this person is going to know things about you that even your best friend might not.
Research the Healthcare Provider
Do some research on the healthcare provider. Look at their reviews--the good and the bad. And keep in mind that providers can’t make everyone happy every time. So, look for trends and similar responses from different people.
Read their professional bio on the company website and look them up on social media. What are their areas of interest? What about their publications and research? For example, do you need help with sexual concerns, but their bio and areas of interest are heart disease? Then, they’re likely not a good fit for your sexual concerns.
Be Familiar with the Staff
If possible, when you call the office to schedule, ask the front desk whom they recommend if you have a particular problem or issue. Do you need a healthcare provider with a gentle manner? More of a tough love approach? The staff most likely knows the providers in the office better than anyone.
If you like the provider but have problems with the staff, building or location you can bring up these concerns with the provider. They may or may not be able to directly change the issues, but if other patients shared similar concerns, it could get the attention of the people who make those decisions. The provider may also have a different location you could change to or be in the process of changing office staff that they can share with you. And remember to be mindful that everyone has a bad day sometimes, so if applicable consider giving the office staff a second chance.
Check-In With Self During the Appointment
Pay attention to how you feel during the appointment. Do you feel heard and listened to? Trust your instincts.
Research Your Concerns
Don’t forget to do some research on your concerns prior to your appointment to familiarize yourself with potential options, etc. Remember that a Google search may not be as trustworthy for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan, as a medical professional. Your healthcare provider should be someone who appreciates you doing your homework and isn’t hesitant to disagree with Dr. Google or TikTok, when necessary.