Do you feel hesitant in talking to your physician? Are you unable to open up about your health issues? If you find it hard to communicate with your doctor, then a lot of problems might arise. Your doctor will surely understand what's wrong with you with a thorough checkup, but he might not be able to treat you properly if you don't tell him about each and every detail of your health issue and your progress with the treatment.
If you want to ensure that you're getting the best treatment, have a full conversation with your doctor. Here are some tips to help you have an in-depth discussion with your physician and understand your treatment better.
Tips on Having an Elaborate Conversation with Your Doctor
Whenever you visit your doctor, give him as much information as you can about your health, whether he asks you or not. Don't feel shy if it is embarrassing. Just share everything so that the doctor can treat you better. Here are some examples of things you should share:
• Tell all your symptoms or any changes that have occurred to your body before or during the day you've fallen sick.
• Tell about your past illnesses, treatments, and operations.
• If you're already taking medicines due to some previous illness, bring the list of medications that you've been taken to your appointment. Tell the doctor about how often and how much you take these drugs.
• Tell your doctor if you are allergic to something or ever had reactions, side effects, or anything in the past.
• Also, tell him if you take some herbal alternatives, products, supplements, medicines, or treatments.
Also, don't forget to ask him questions whenever you don't understand something or your doctor might think that you have understood everything he has told you. Here are some examples of such questions:
• Can you explain me in detail about this treatment?
• What are the possibilities that this treatment will work?
• How much does this treatment cost?
• Will this treatment cure me permanently or for some time?
• How often do I need to visit you?
• When will I notice a difference?
• Do I have other options?
• Will this treatment hurt?
• Are there any side effects?
• If yes, then what can be done about them?
Or ask anything that is confusing you until you're satisfied. Here is a sample conversation between doctor and patient that will help you initiate and continue the discussion.
Sample Conversation Between Doctor and Patient
Doctor: Hello, what’s the matter?
George: I have a terrible pain in my left hand.
Doctor: For how long has your hand been bothering you?
George: It's been more than a week. It was okay, but from the last two days, I'm unable to bear it.
Doctor: Well, has it been injured or hurt before?
George: No doctor, this is the first time.
Doctor: Have you taken any medicine?
George: Yes, I have been taking this painkiller.
Doctor: Any other information you would want me to know before I start checking your hand?
George: Yes, I carried a heavy box two weeks before with both hands. It was okay then, but after a week, my left hand started hurting.
Doctor: Oh, that’s strange. Let’s have a look at your hand.
Patient : May I come in, Sir?
Doctor : Yes, you may.
Patient : I’ve been suffering from fever for the past two days.
Doctor : Did you take any medicine?
Patient : No, I didn’t. I’ve got a cold too.
(Doctor examines the patient.)
Doctor : Your body temperature is 102° F. You must take medicines for at least three days.
Patient : Can I attend office?
Doctor : You shouldn’t. You must take rest.
Patient : What about the diet?
Doctor : You should be on liquid diet.
Patient : Should I see you again?
Doctor : You needn’t. But if the fever persists for more than three days, come and see me.
Patient : Sure.
Doctor : Here is the prescription.
Patient : Thank you, Sir.
Doctor : You’re welcome.
The following is a conversation between an anxious patient and a doctor, before an operation:
Patient : Is the surgery a major one?
Doctor : Yes, it is.
Patient : How long will it take?
Doctor : 1 1/2 ? hours
Patient : Will I be given a local or general anaesthetic?
Doctor : General.
Patient : Will there be any after-effects?
Doctor : Except for weakness and a little nausea, you'll be fine.
Patient : Will it be painful afterwards ?
Doctor : Yes. But don't worry, you' ll be given pain-killers.
Patient : What will be the cost of the surgery?
Doctor : Rs.75,000/- including post-operative care.
local anaesthetic : a drug that causes loss of feeling in one part of the body
general anaesthetic : a drug that causes unconsciousness
after-effects : effects that follow the primary action of something
post-operative : relating to the period after surgery
heave : produce or let out
whoop : a loud, excited shout
multi-speciality : comprising many branches of medicine
paediatrics : the branch of medicine concerned with children and their diseases
trauma : emotional shock; physical injury
orthopaedics : the branch of medicine concerned with the correction of bone and muscle deformities
cardiac : relating to the heart
post-natal : relating to the period after birth
How To Have Open Conversation With Your Doctor
Conversations with doctors and their patients is critical not only to successful healing, but also to the reputation and foundation of each professional's medical practice. The dialogue between patient and doctor is so important because it directly affects so many other areas in therapeutical field. So how can you have open conversation with your doctor to get the results you want about your illness? There are 3 main tips you need to focus on:
The first thing you always want to do with a licensed physician is be honest. This may seem like common sense to most, however every year thousands of patients are misdiagnosed due to lack of communication upfront about their ailments. While some of your symptoms may be embarrassing or seemingly inappropriate to discuss, it would behoove you to not come forward with all that is troubling you. An improper diagnosis from lack of information serves absolutely no one and is a waste of time for both you and your doctor. An example of how to be honest when your symptoms are not something you want to talk about is to write down your ailments and give them to your doctor that way. Some people are more comfortable putting things in writing, and this choice also eliminates the anxiety you may feel in having to confide in someone else.
The second thing you want to do to maintain a healthy relationship and dialogue with your doctor is to make your own medical journal. There is no such thing as too much information you can give to your caretaker. A tip to include in your medical journal is to rate your pain or discomfort level 1 to 10 each day. This gives your doctor a barometer off of which to judge your condition and keeps them constantly updated as to how you are feeling. It is ideal to place these tallies on a calendar so they can be physically looked at and referenced. An example of how this can lead to productive conversation would be to say something like, "Last Wednesday my pain level was at a 4, and this Wednesday it is at an 8. How should I space out my medication to ensure I get my pain level back down to a 4?"
The third tip to keep in mind to ensure conversation with doctors goes smoothly is study up on your condition on your own and ask questions yourself accordingly. This will force your doctor to be honest with you and set up a trust system you both can maintain in the future. It is also essential in building a solid rapport with them because the more invested you are in their field, the more respect for you as a patient they will have. Dialogue with doctors becomes easier and less stressful the more there is a mutual understanding between the two of you.
When you have a conversation with a doctor always remember they are as passionate about their profession as you are as passionate about feeling better. Because of this, going into your physician's wheelhouse while discussing their interests and hobbies will serve you well to solidify a strong patient to doctor bond moving forward.