Women seem to share one scary and irritating situation; doctors not taking us or our symptoms seriously. Our health is important and we have spent far too long not being taught how to help advocate for yourself at the doctors. This is exactly why we thought it would be important to share with you some essential ways you can advocate for yourself effectively.
Interviewing Your Doctor Is Acceptable
When you are looking for a new Doctor you have to remember you have every right to interview them. You are allowed to pick and choose and find a Doctor that you feel will have your best interest at heart, not just the first one available. Ask them what their opinions are on things that matter to you to help you gauge if this doctor will be the right fit for you. Don’t be scared to ask hard questions to make sure you are comfortable with the care they would provide you.
Keep Track Of Your Symptoms
One of the best things you can do to help you be heard while in the office is to have tracked your symptoms. If you are a nervous person when in the Doctor’s office, or find it hard to remember things on the spot or when flustered, it is always great to have notes to refer to. Having your symptoms tracked for a while on paper will help you point out that this isn’t something you want to be “pushed aside” that does need to be addressed.
Write Down What You Want To Discuss
Along with taking in your notes of your tracked symptoms, making sure you have a list of concerns and questions can also be helpful. I often find myself getting flustered if I feel like I’m being dismissed or even worse I will get rude, so making sure I have talking points and questions prepared has been super helpful to me. Don’t skip anything and never be afraid to repeat yourself until your questions have been answered.
Take Notes Or Record Your Appointments
Along with this make sure you are taking notes during your appointment or even recording audio wise if your doctor is comfortable with it. Many with auditory processing issues can have a hard time, and those with memory issues may want to make sure they have a record of what was talked about. Being able to refer back to notes or a recording can help you go back if you ever need or feel you missed something.
Make Them Note Refusal Of Care
Of course with note taking on your end goes note taking on theirs. So every time they don’t want to look further into something you are bringing up, tell your doctor to make a note in your file that they refused care and why. Having them write it out will hopefully help you down the road if you look into further care or even a new doctor. It is about holding them and you accountable for your care and helping them realise you mean business.
If you ever do have a moment where a doctor isn’t taking your symptoms seriously and they’re casually pushing your concerns aside, another thing to ask them is what their “differential diagnosis” is. This is basically asking them to tell you all the things that this symptom could be. Then when they are done telling you all the things that this symptom could be a warning sign of you ask them how exactly they ruled out those things. Considering you’re just in their office for a few moments you know full well they haven’t done anything physical to determine their assumption/hope. Doing this will put you back in the driver seat in terms of your care and ensuring it is taken seriously; making them rethink not booking or referring you for those tests you need to rule things out.
Never Stop Asking Questions
One of the best things you can do at any appointment is ask a lot of questions, never stop asking them as it is a priceless way to learn more about your health. Being more educated about your own health and how things work together in your body is the best way to be proactive about your health care. Do your research and ask your healthcare professional to elaborate, that’s what they are there for – to help you and educate you about your health.
Using these 7 tips will help you to better advocate for yourself at your doctor’s, of course if you ever feel you need it bringing in a partner or medical advocate can always be an option. Make sure you are taken seriously, because your health, your kids’ health and your life matter.