Going to the doctor can be very overwhelming. Maybe you have experienced going into an appointment, having a bunch of words spewed at you, and then they tell you that you can leave It’s easy to feel like your voice is lost in all the chaos! But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are a few tips to advocate for yourself at your next appointment:
Come with a plan. I feel like I am always saying “Oh, I will ask my doctor that when I see her next!” and then promptly forget everything I want to ask upon arrival. Make a list throughout the year (if you are going to an annual exam) or before your appointment (if going to a specialty) to make sure all your questions/concerns are addressed. Doctors sometimes seem rushed but do not leave that office until you have voiced all your questions. Your appointment is just as valuable as the next person's! Slow down and remember that your time is just as important as the doctors and you have a RIGHT to discuss your concerns.
Ask questions if something doesn’t make sense. Medical lingo can be confusing and it’s okay if you don’t understand every medical term. If something is foreign to you, speak up and ask what it means. The medical team is there for YOU.
Tell them what you need. If you want certain information about your body, ask your doctor to order the necessary tests. If they feel it is unnecessary, they can explain why but don’t be afraid to ask! This can be anything from screening blood tests to preventative mammograms.
Ask next steps. Your doctor just spewed a bunch of medical lingo at you… so now what? Advocate for yourself and your health by determining the action steps: when to follow-up next, how you can improve your health between now and the follow-up, and what indicators you should look for that would prompt sooner follow-up.
The medical team is truly there to help you become your best self, so use that to your advantage. It is your right to know what is going on with your body, so don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and make your voice known!
Written by Nicole Eldred BSN, RN
Edited by Amy Will 17x Marathoner