Take Ownership of Your Care

I remember the days when you would meet a doctor for the first time in his office. He would sit behind his desk- you could look around at his diploma on the wall; and get a sense of who he or she was by the way the office was decorated. And then he would enter in and talk to you. Yes, really. You would be fully clothed and he would chat with you about your needs and concerns. Then afterwards you would go to the exam room, undress, have the exam and then meet him back in his office. They do not really do that any longer. Why? It took too much time. It was not an efficient way to see patients for the amount of reimbursement they would get from your insurance plan.

doctor at desk

Now you are in the waiting room- you fill out your questionnaire and are ushered hopefully without too long of a wait into an exam room. The nurse tells you to undress and may ask some questions that she puts into her words into the computer. The doctor enters and stares at the screen and then turns to you to do the exam. He meets you undressed and addresses your needs after the exam while you remain undressed. But he can see twice as many patients if not more this way.

We ask few questions and get little sense of what is really going on many times. The doctor is up and already has his hand on the door knob when he briskly asks if we have any further questions or concerns.

We have to start taking back our medical care. Come armed with a list of questions and concerns. Demand to be listened to. Don’t leave until you understand the plan of action for your care. They may mark your chart with the code of someone who needs more time than the usual appointment allotment. But that is okay. You will be getting the information you need to make the right decisions for your care.

And a very important thing to consider is your level of communication with your provider being authentic.  If you do not understand, ask him to explain it differently so you can understand it. If you do not like the way you are being treated, you need to stop them and tell them how they are making you feel. It is time that feeling intimidated by a person with a degree makes you feel less of value. They are there to serve you.

I heard that a doctor recently told one of our clients that she did not need to be fully informed and then given time to decide on the next course of action for her birth. She was hiring him- a professional with expert skills and knowledge. He would know the best thing for her. She needed to just listen to him and do what he said. I don’t know that would send hair standing up on my back for sure. I want to be a part of the decision making regarding my body and my health. I love the word consultation for that very reason.  I had a mom last week tell me she was taking a supplement that is actually an induction agent because her midwife told her to do it. I wanted to scream. She had failed to ask any questions about what to expect from taking it, the real purpose behind doing so or the possible negative side effects from doing so. Take ownership of your care. Trust your providers but understand the advice they are giving you fully.