It can be hard to build a good relationship with your doctor. When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, it’s hard to interact with all of the doctors you come into contact with. You’ve been told they are good – experts even – but sometimes you may just not jive with their personality or feel that they really care all that much.
Doctors are human beings.
They have their good points and they have their bad points – some of them. I believe a good majority of doctors go into the profession with the goal of truly helping people. Then they get chewed up by a healthcare system that has been set up for profit – not health – and they get disillusioned and burned out – and they follow the protocols that have been set out for them. Namely, don’t treat an individual holistically or find the root cause of disease. Instead, cut parts out and off and prescribe as many pills as you can.
But, as with any important relationship in your life, the relationship you have with your oncologist, primary care doctor, therapist etc. will need to be worked on. This is really important because studies have found that those patients who have good relationships with their doctors typically have better health outcomes.
This makes sense, right? The better your relationship with your doctor, the more likely you are to actually show up to appointments, be open and honest with them and take their medical advice.
If you just don’t like your doctor, I encourage you to find a new one you are comfortable with. If you like your doctor but feel like the relationship could use a little help, here are some things you can do to improve it:
5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Doctor
Prepare Yourself for Your Appointment
Help your doctor help you by being prepared for each appointment. Beyond showing up on time, you need to make sure you bring a list of ALL your current medications, any health issues you’ve been having, and any questions and concerns. You may have.
Organize and Prioritize
Sadly, today’s doctors do typically have only a short amount of time to offer each patient. Most doctors don’t love being pressed for time any more than their patients. To help them and you, try and prioritize your issues and let your doctor know how many things you’d like to discuss. Ask how many items can you realistically get through. This openness and transparency will help you not feel anger or resentment toward your doctor who is trying to give you as much time as they can.
Ask How They May Be Reached After Hours
In case of a medical issue, it’s important that you be able to get in touch with your doctor. Each will have their own preference for how they should be reached after hours, so be sure to know their system in advance. One less thing to worry about.
Use Electronic Health Records to Stay Informed
Find out if your doctor’s office uses electronic health records (EHRs). Most should nowadays. Find out how you can access the portal. This will make it incredibly easy for you to review your records and educational material, so you can be as informed as possible. This will make speaking with your doctor far easier for BOTH of you, and help you build that good relationship faster.
Don’t Complain – Share Your Concerns instead
Try and think of things from your doctor’s point of view. All day long he or she deals with patients who are in some kind of pain or distress, and a lot of their grumpiness gets dumped on the doctor. All day. Every day. So don’t go into your appointment with a complaint – rather try and go in with a concern you have.
For instance, it’s natural to go in and complain that you are having trouble sleeping. But what’s more important is to share your main concerns about your lack of sleep: you have trouble at work or have issues taking care of your kids, etc. if you don’t share your concerns, you don’t give your doctor a chance to respond to them.
All relationships require work, and the one you have with your doctor is no different. Again, if he or she is just not jiving or listening to you, I urge you to look for someone you feel comfortable with and can fully trust. But, if you like your doctor but feel that things could be going better, please try the tips I’ve outlined. They have worked for me and countless others I’ve coached, and they can help you build better rapport with everyone on your healing team.
Create a plan to interview and find your dream healing team. Make sure it full of people you love to visit and who enhance you on your wellness journey.