How To Prepare for a Doctor’s Visit

Taking care of your health is important, but whether it’s a routine checkup with the family practitioner or a visit with a specialist, an appointment to see the doctor can sometimes be nerve-wracking. It can be especially helpful for people with anxiety to prepare for their visit, so that they can take care of their health with confidence and avoid unnecessary stress. Below is a list of 5 simple things to do to prepare for a doctor’s visit and make the trip easier.  

#1 Plan how you will get there 

No one likes it when the doctor is late to your appointment, but many people forget that the reason why your appointment is delayed is likely because someone showed up late before you! Don’t be the reason someone else’s appointment is behind schedule. Take the proper measures to show up on time for your appointment, and check in on time. If you don’t mind the wait, it might be a good idea to show up a little early so that they can see you as soon as they can! Remember to bring a book!  

#2 Have a list of questions or symptoms to discuss  

The doctor probably won’t have much time to visit with you. She has to see a lot of patients in one day, and usually has no control over how long she spends with patients. To make the most of your visit, have a written list of questions you need to ask or symptoms you would like to discuss. You may forget once you’re in the office, and you want to avoid coming back in later. The doctor will be happy to discuss with you, and probably grateful that you’re being proactive!  

#3 Try not to be self conscious 

No one likes the feeling of being on display or being examined, but when you go in for a checkup, it is important that you are honest and upfront about your symptoms and habits. A good doctor will not bat an eye at a symptom that really grosses you out, and she actually needs you to let her know how she can help you best. Additionally, answer all of the questions that your doctor or nurse asks you honestly. Good health professionals will not judge you.  

#4 Avoid Catching A Bug  

Lots of people avoid going to the doctors because they don’t want to catch anything that might be going around. It’s important to guard your own health when you go. Put your mind at ease by remembering that you can avoid a lot of germs by wash your hands after you touch common surfaces. Bring some hand sanitizer for a quick douse if you can’t excuse yourself. Avoid touching your face and mouth, or doing things like biting your nails. Although it can be nerve-racking to be in a room potentially full of sick people, many doctors offices are aware of this and want to avoid spreading diseases, especially in their offices. Remember that every room is cleaned between occupants, and most of the sicker people are brought to the back to wait in a private exam room for their appointment.  

#5 Don’t Avoid Going 

As we get older, we often become eligible for new tests and exams that come with age. Having these exams preformed and then waiting for results can be uncomfortable and even anxiety inducing. It’s important not to put off routine physical exams, or avoid getting important seasonal inoculations like the flu vaccine because you don’t want to be told it’s time to have a mammogram. Prioritizing your health isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it to know you’re doing everything you can to keep your body healthy and strong!  

Bonus: After the Visit  

Follow up with any specialists or lab tests your doctor recommends. She doctor can’t make a better plan to treat you if she is still lacking important information. Follow her recommendations so that your appointment was worth the time it took, and so that you can get to feeling better.  

Think about how the visit made you feel. Did your doctor make you unnecessarily self conscious or nervous? Did your doctor not take your symptoms or pain seriously? Don’t assume this is the norm! Just because you have a bad doctor, doesn’t mean doctors are bad. If possible, look for other offices you can visit, and ask around your community for a doctor that treats you well and takes you seriously.