By: Andrew Greenwalt, RN, Kadlec Clinic
As medical professionals we understand that a trip to the doctor’s office can result in much frustration. One oft cited source of frustration in the medical field is communication. Clear communication is not only important for ensuring that everybody in your treatment team is on the same page, but for your treatment team to keep you up to date on your status. Some tips before your next medical appointment to improve communication:
- Keep a journal or list of your symptoms, concerns, or questions. In the moment it can be difficult to think of those questions that have been sitting in the back of your mind, so bring your journal to your next appointment. Having a journal or a list available makes things easier to remember and helps your medical providers design or optimize your care. Also, having it with you to write down the details they share that you might forget.
- Be frank, honest and earnest about what you’re feeling or what you’re going through. It can be to your nurse, your doctor, or your radiology technician. There are almost always people willing to listen and be able to help you with what you’re going through. Remember, we’re not mind readers! Also, be sure to tell every member of your care team! Everyone does their best to share notes and keep everyone informed in the healthcare field, but you are your own best expert.
- Repeat back to the provider what the provider is telling you. This creates an opportunity for both you and the provider to make sure you are on the same page.
- Bring a friend or family member. This does a couple things for you. Obviously, you’ll have someone you know close by to provide support, but also a second set of eyes and ears to help remember information and ask questions.
Having good communication and a close relationship with your healthcare team can make a world of difference. Our goal as care providers is to provide safe and high-quality care, and communication is key to. We are eager to share our knowledge with you because we know that the treatment you’re going through or soon to go through is very unknown to you. As healthcare providers, we can make the path to healing a little less dark and scary. We can tell you what lies ahead, and together, we can help you get through it.