How to address concerns to your doctor

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Regarding your health, you have a lot of questions and concerns. Your doctor is the best resource you have to help you feel comfortable and confident about your care. But that doesn’t mean your doctor has all the answers. Research shows that doctors don’t communicate with their patients as well as they could. Communication is an important part of any relationship with your doctor. That’s why improving communication can be such a rewarding goal for both you and your doctor. Here are five ways to improve your communication with your doctor so that you feel confident discussing anything from minor illnesses to long-term habits and care plans.

Create a doctor-patient relationship you’re comfortable with.

To fully communicate with your doctor, you must feel comfortable being yourself in front of them. Feel as if you’re not presenting them with an idealized version of yourself but being yourself, exactly as you are. You might be nervous about certain parts of your medical history. You might be worried about how your body will react to certain tests or procedures. You might be nervous about how your doctor will react to your nervousness. Suppose you’re uncomfortable being yourself in the setting of the doctor-patient relationship. In that case, you might feel you can’t be yourself and that you’re being awkward and weird. You’re not communicating or being honest, and you might feel you’re not getting the best care.

Ask open-ended questions that get to the heart of your concerns.

While it’s important to communicate your concerns and questions, it’s even more important to communicate any concerns you might have that aren’t on the radar. When you’re nervous or uncomfortable in a situation, you focus on what’s easy and comfortable for you rather than what might be uncomfortable. If, for example, you’re nervous about a blood draw, you might not even be aware that you’ve been avoiding saying, “I’m nervous about the blood draw.” Instead, you might have avoided saying, “I’m nervous about getting a needle stuck in my arm.” Open-ended questions can help you get to the heart of any concerns you have, and if you’re not aware that you have concerns, they can help you identify and express them.

Be aware of your body language and tone of voice.

You might be surprised, but your voice and body language might be just as important as what you say. If you’re feeling nervous or uncomfortable, it can often be reflected in your tone of voice and body language. If you’re feeling nervous about a blood draw, it can often be reflected in how your voice sounds and position your body while you talk. If you’re feeling nervous about a disease, it can often be reflected in how you avoid saying specific words. If you’re feeling nervous about a procedure, it can often be reflected in how you avoid asking questions. If you’re feeling nervous about your doctor, it can often be reflected in how you hold yourself as you talk to them.

Find words that help turn your everyday conversations into learning opportunities.

Being a good doctor doesn’t just come from many hours in medical school. It also comes from being curious about your wellness and being interested in and curious about the wellness of your patients. Being interested in learning more about your health and in what your doctor has to say can help you turn your everyday conversations with your doctor into learning opportunities.

Being curious about how your body feels,

  • what your symptoms are,
  • what your medical history is,
  • what your lifestyle is like,
  • what your symptoms are like when you’re stressed or anxious,
  • what your daily activities are like,
  • what your diet is like,
  • what your mental health is like,
  • what your emotional health is like,
  • what your medications are like,
  • what your social support is like,
  • what your financial health is like,
  • what your emotional health is like,
  • what your emotional health needs are,
  • what your daily routines are like,
  • what your hobbies are like,
  • what your finances are like,
  • what your relationships are like,
  • what your goals are like,
  • what your values are like,
  • what your home is like,
  • what your living situation is like,
  • what your bed is like,
  • what your kitchen is like,
  • what your bathroom is like,
  • what your closet is like,
  • what your car is like,
  • what your electronic devices are like,
  • what your transportation is like,
  • what your furniture is like,
  • what your home is like,
  • what your everyday surroundings are like,
  • what your neighborhood is like,
  • what your workplace is like,
  • what your community is like,
  • what your local area is like,
  • what your city is like,
  • what your state is like,
  • what your country is like,
  • what your world is like,
  • and what you’d like to learn more about.

Stand up for what you want and need, even if it’s uncomfortable.

  • You have every right to have strong feelings about your health and your care.
  • You have every right to ask for what you want, including exactly what you need.
  • If you want someone to check your blood sugar,
  • you want someone to do a certain procedure,
  • or you want someone to change your medication,
  • or you want someone to do something different,
  • or you want someone to do something different in their care of you.
  • you have every right to ask for it.
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, you have every right to ask.
  • You also have every right to say no.
  • You have every right to ask for what you need, exactly how you need it, and when you need it.
  • You have every right to feel confident that your doctor and your care are appropriate and helpful. You also have every right to feel safe and secure in your doctor’s care and in your doctor’s decision-making.

Conclusion

Communication is essential in any relationship, and that includes your doctor-patient relationship. That’s why improving communication is such a rewarding goal for both you and your doctor. Create a doctor-patient relationship you’re comfortable with. Ask open-ended questions that get to the heart of your concerns. Be aware of your body language and tone of voice. Find words that help turn your everyday conversations into learning opportunities. Stand up for what you want and need, even if it’s uncomfortable. You can’t do it alone, but you can do it together.

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