Your doctor is an important person in your life. From being a small child all the way up to a fully fledged adult, you will visit your doctor on a regular basis for checkups and to ask for advice when you have an ailment. The relationship you have with the doctor is a crucial one in your life as they will be the one who listens to your problems and comforts you when you need it. To really make the most out of the trip you take to the doctors, you will want to do some preparation in advance. Taking time to prepare for a doctor’s visit is important because it will mean that the appointment will be as valuable as it can be.
Scheduling Your Visit
When you look at scheduling your appointment with the doctor, you can take your first step to making sure that the visit is as helpful as possible.Talking to the reception staff briefly about your issue will mean that they can book out enough time for you to have an effective discussion with your doctor. You could even find that they recommend you visiting available nurse practitioner specialties for your issue. It means you know you’ll be visiting the right person for the job.
Prescription refills can also be arranged in advance so that on the day you can pick them up as your leave the doctors. If you are on a repeat prescription or you have run out of your medication and need some to keep you going until the visit, you can ask for that as you make the appointment.
If you have any special needs such as wheelchair access, make sure you pre-warn the staff at the surgery so that they know what measures to take for you on the day. If english is not your first language, you may need to get an interpreter to come into the appointment with you so that the doctor can understand what you are saying.
If you feel like there may be a possibility of you having to cancel your appointment due to other commitments- check the office policy and what happens when you cancel. Most offices will charge a small fee for cancellations. If you need a doctors note for school or work, make sure you let them know when you make the appointment and they will be able to arrange it for you.
Scheduling in Advance
If you know that you have a number of different issues you need to talk to your doctor about, you will have to book up multiple appointment for the day. This can mean that you need to make the appointments up to a month in advance in order to get 2 appointments next to each other.
If for your appointment you will need any lab work such as blood test or stool samples ready to analyse- you will need to get this sorted out prior to your appointment too. This can sometimes take a week or so for the results to come through, so make sure that you visit the hospital to get the tests done well in-advance to make sure that the results will be there by the time you visit the doctor. If they aren’t you will need to make another appointment on a later date.
Here are some extra tips for scheduling your appointment:
- For shorter waiting times try booking your appointment in the morning or at lunch time.
- Avoid monday and friday – these are usually the busiest times of the week for people because many will want to make appointments at the start or end of the week rather than in the middle
- During flu season and walk-in clinics, you will sometimes be lucky getting a late appointment because doctors will clear their schedule early in the hopes of going home early.
Before You Visit
Make sure you know your full medical history in the event that you have to fill out a medical form listing any chronic illnesses, medical history and medications. You will also need to include the following information:
- Hospitalizations. If you have been rushed to the hospital for some reason- know the date and the reason- as well as the procedures you had performed.
- Diagnoses. If you have been diagnosed with an illness such as asthma, you need to let them know.
- Family history. If your family has a history of strokes or heart disease, your doctor will want to know because you could be at risk.
Write a list of your concerns and your symptoms. Often when we visit the doctors we can forget one or two things which could be crucial for the doctor working out what is wrong with us. Taking the time to write down everything you feel will make sure that your doctor has a clear view of your ailments and can come to a conclusion much more easily. If you have been monitoring things such as your weight or blood pressure at home– bring your findings with you so that your doctor can take a look and draw conclusions from it. They will be able to judge the information better than you and possibly even attribute it to your illness. If you are currently on any medication for a minor ailment or a chronic illness, make sure you bring it with you so that your doctor is able to prescribe something which won’t react adversely to what you are taking currently.
When You Visit
Now that you have prepared for the visit, it’s time to go to your appointment. If you feel uncomfortable going alone, bring someone you trust with you like your partner or another family member. It will mean that if you get bad news you have someone there. Also, having someone with you listening to what the doctor says will mean you have two accounts of the appointment and if you don’t understand something or you forget something, chances are the other person will have remembered it. It means that you can be sure you have gotten the most out of the appointment and you have all the information and advice you need to move forward. If you need to be alone, write things down if you think you’ll forget them.