You thought you were prepared. You had several questions ready to ask your doctor during your well-check visit — but when the time came, you couldn’t think of a single one.
If this happens to you, you are not alone. Don’t fret, though. There are several things you can do to make your visit more effective and get the most out of one-on-one time with your doctor.
Be on time
We know that doctors can often fall behind but this can be amplified by patients being late for their allocated appointment. Some doctors may jump to the next person in the queue if you have not arrived.
If possible, leave the kids at home
If the appointment isn’t for the kids, try and leave the kids with someone during the consultation. Fewer distractions means you can be fully focused and engaged during the consultation.
Don’t bring a list
Please don’t come in with a list of multiple issues that all need sorting today. It is unrealistic to expect to deal with so many issues at one time and the doctor will be forced to address each one superficially, rather than giving it the time it deserves.
Pick the most pressing problem and try working through that, rather than leaping between troubles and not addressing any of them properly. It’s also not fair on your fellow patients, who will inevitably end up waiting longer.
If you do have lots of problems to discuss, speak with the receptionist and try to book a double appointment.
Make sure you have your facts together as much as possible
When asked when your symptoms started, it’s best to try to be as specific as possible. If possible, try to talk about durations in terms of hours, days, months or years; broad-bush timescales which everyone can understand.
Make notes so you don’t forget anything that might be important.
Don’t be embarrassed
Your doctor will not be shocked by anything you tell them. You can speak openly and honestly with all of our staff.
Get the important issues out first
If there is something you are really worried about – for example, a breast lump or crushing chest pain – mention it first. Loads of people talk about something relatively minor to start with as a kind of ‘warm-up’.
To Google or not to Google
Google has a wealth of information, the trouble is working out what may or may not be relevant to you. Coming into the doctor already having diagnosed yourself from google isn’t necessarily helpful. Discuss your symptoms and worries with your doctor and let their experience and training guide you to an outcome.
Despite what you might read in the press, the vast majority of GPs really are trying their best to help you. If you can muster up a smile or a thank you, it will make their day!