Getting the most of your doctor's visit...
when you are actually in the examination room and you are actually sick or have a chronic condition. This is a bit lengthy.
- •Consider the first part of your time in the exam room as prep time for when you actually see the doctorThis is when the medical assistant escorts you into the exam room to sit and wait some more, but you're not actually going to see the doctor yet.
- •First of all, realize that the medical assistant is not a nurse or a doctor. The medical assistant studies for a certificate for about 10 months during which he or she learns office tasks, medical terminology, and basic things such as height and weight.Don't ask the MA questions. They either don't really know the answer or they might be making something up from their general knowledge from watching Grey's Anatomy. They do not usually have a college education. This doesn't mean they are bad people or have bad intentions. But they are often mistaken for nurses which they are not.
- •Write down whatever the results are for your blood pressure, temperature, etc. so that you can reference them when you actually talk to the doctor.
- •Take out the list you made in the waiting room (or better yet at home). This should include your medications and supplements, symptoms, and questions. Ask the medical assistant to copy it and bring you back a copy.See Advice from a retired nurse on what to do at home and in the doctor's waiting room before you go in for what to do in the waiting room.
- •Sign and date the original and give it to the doctor asking him or her to make sure it is incorporated into your records for that day.Then there's no doubt that you told him or her what was wrong and asked these questions.
- •When the doctor comes in the room don't waste time making small talk. A simple greeting is fine. You're only going to have a short time with the doctor and if you waste time talking about your vacation or their's you are going to get a shorter exam.
- •Get every question answered to your satisfaction and write down the answers the doctor gave you.Clarify everything and anything you are uncertain of. They throw around medical terminology without even realizing it.
- •Write down any instructions regarding any tests or prescriptions you are given.Pharmacies make mistakes, too so it's good if you know ahead of time what to do with the medication. For example, sometimes the doctor prescribes a skin ointment and the label from the pharmacy might say "take as directed." If you didn't write down how to take it when the doctor described it you might not remember it correctly by time you get home. Remember – when you're sick you don't function as well.
- •Wash your hands or use the hand sanitizer when you come in the room and before you leave the room. Don't count on those flimsy paper covers on the exam table to be your only protection.In fact try not to touch anything if you can help it. The place is full of sick people.
- •Make sure everybody who comes in the room and is going to touch you or touch the equipment they are using on you has used the hand sanitizer or washed their hands when they come in and when they leave.Don't worry about insulting them. They forget. They are people. They usually appreciate the reminder. They don't want to catch what you have anymore than they want to make you sick.
- •If your doctor objects to any of the above consider getting a new one who is more willing to work with you to keep you healthy. That's what you are paying them for.You are paying one way or another.