Choosing a doctor that you can talk to means different things to different people. For many, the family doctor is a figure with whom you would share private issues, with a feeling of trust and confidence. But how do you filter out professionals until you find the one that you are happy with?
Here are a few tips to help you choose a doctor you feel you can communicate with.
Ease of Communication
When you talk to a doctor, you want to be comfortable enough to communicate openly. If a patient feels that their doctor is judging them or they feel shy to share details, how good can that connection be? Making a meeting with a doctor, or even talking over the phone, is a good way to find out if you feel comfortable talking to the doctor. This is especially so in the case of choosing the primary care provider.
Easy to Reach
For practical reasons, it is convenient and comforting to know that if you call, you may get to speak to the doctor or they will be able to call you back at an agreed time. Sometimes people try to go to the top doctors, but are disappointed when the doctor is too busy to be reached outside of appointments.
Simple to Explain Things to
Some people are good listeners. People who actively listen to what you are saying say, “Mmm” “Uhum”, “I hear” and ask how the issue affects you. You know that you have been heard. That makes it easy to explain your point. Another pointer in the right direction is having a doctor whose native language is the same as your own. Sometimes, picking a doctor in a similar age bracket as you, or, with a similar outlook on life will also make it easier to explain things to them.
Helps You to Relax
How does a doctor help a patient to relax in an appointment? By waiting for the patient to be ready to speak or gently prompting, “How can I help you today?” By not talking on the phone when the patient is in the room, unless it is for the patient’s service. Some people look for a doctor who smiles and makes lighthearted comments, others prefer a serious focused physician. On this point, a patient has got to know what their own preferences are.
Doesn’t Rush You
Depending on which type of doctor or visit it is, many doctors have very little time with each patient. Nevertheless, the doctor should be able to hear you, read any paperwork you brought along and so on, without making you feel that he is rushed. If you have questions after his diagnosis, the doctor should be available to answer them, or have ready resources to help you reach the answer yourself. The atmosphere in the office should be relaxed and have a touch of time-stand-still, because the doctor is there for you.
Understands Your Nature
If you are into ‘understanding yourself’ then you may want a doctor with an intuitive understanding of human nature. People who meet so many people, usually develop a good sense of how people behave. You may expect that from your doctor, but it can’t be taken for granted.
It is important that any patient feel respected. Senior patients are called “senior” for good reason. The doctor should show honor and respect to a senior patient as befits the status of a senior person.
If you are really into detailed analyses of what makes a good doctor or surgeon for that matter, then read the KevinMD article on that topic. It might some time to go through the list of questions, but then you can get a really good idea of the doctor you are going to choose.
Have a successful search in choosing a doctor you can talk to!