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Caregiver Training Blog

Doctor-Patient Communications: Making the Most of your Appointment

doctor-patient communications

The longer you wait in the doctors’ office for your visit, the more time you have to think about and agonize over what may be causing your pain or the amount of weight you’ve gained since your last visit and the list goes on and on!  And if your visit is anything like most, you will probably spend more time in the waiting room than in the examination room with your doctor – that’s just the way it is!  This is NOT the best time to begin thinking about what questions or concerns you have to discuss with your doctor and coming up with that list should begin long before your visit. 


Here are a few tips in preparing for your next doctor visit:

  • Write down your two or three most important questions.
    - With the limited amount of time you want to get answers to your most urgent concerns.
  • Write down details of your symptoms, including when they started and what makes them better or worse.
    - Giving your doctor as much information as possible will help in making an accurate diagnosis.
  • List or take all your medicines and pills – including vitamins and supplements.
    - We often don’t think about supplements or vitamins and how they may interact with prescription drugs.
  • If you’re nervous or anxious about your visit, ask a family member or friend to accompany you.
    - When we’re nervous, we may forget what questions to ask or may not remember what instructions were given.  Someone else sitting in can take notes.

Developing a good rapport with your doctor is essential and in order to establish that you must be able to talk and listen to your doctor.  While the doctor is the professional in the field of medicine, you are the specialist about your own body.  Letting your doctor know how you feel, what has changed since your last visit, even what fears and anxieties you are having about certain drugs or upcoming procedures is important information to share.

Learn how to make the best of your valuable doctor visit and go to mmLearn.org for our latest webcast, Doctor Talk: Making the Most of Your 10 Minutes with Your Doctor presented by Maria Wellisch,  RN, LNFA. Have questions after watching the video?  Just click on the question bubble above the video player and let us know how we can help you. You may also be interested in watching some of our videos with Pharmacist Carrie Allen including Polypharmacy and the Elderly:  Are You Taking Too Many Meds?, or Help! My Mother is on Drugs!