Originally published July 21, 2018
Finding a suite of doctors that fit your needs might be challenging, however the pay off of finding doctors who are the right fit for you is worth it.
Shopping around for doctors may seem like a strange concept, but we shop around for other things. We go to several supermarkets before we find the one that fits our needs and our price range. We go to different mechanics until we find the one that treats our car the best and we shop around for nail technicians and hair stylists! So why not shop around for your doctor?
The point of shopping around is so that we can find what meets most/ all our needs.
Here are some tips for finding the right long term doctor for you!
1. Look at your needs.
Think about why you need a doctor. Do you want someone who will just give you your yearly check ups? How about someone who can see the whole family? Maybe you need long term specialist care like a gynaecologist? You might end up needing only one doctor or more. A great place to start is with a general practitioner or family physician and discuss your needs as an individual/ family and seeing if everything can be managed by them or you will need to add on specialist care.
2. Trust your instinct.
If you enter a office and something just doesn’t feel right to you, then move on. Trust your gut, you get the most out of your doctor’s visit when you’re able to feel comfortable and relaxed and free to share all the personal and embarrassing information you may be asked.
3. Prioritise communication.
You are a consumer, if you feel like you’re being rushed and not being listened to you have a right to speak up. If it makes you feel as though it is compromising your care its okay to move on. A vital aspect of proper health care is communication and you should strive to find a doctor where this is easy. Prioritise being able to speak openly with your doctor, as well as, understanding what has been happening to you and the management plan at the end of each session.
4. Put yourself first.
Don’t do yourself injustice by sticking with a doctor because your family has been seeing them for years, or its a family friend. You have to put yourself first and get the most out of your visits. If you’re unsatisfied don’t feel burdened to stay out of loyalty or familiarity.
This article is not just for persons who are utilising private primary care but also public. In public primary health care you are allowed to have a choice. You are not obligated to go to any doctor who has made you feel uncomfortable, you just have to speak up.
It is important to be honest with your doctor, I think that if you have an issue you can speak up! If you don’t tell us you have a problem with something we did or didn’t do, we might never know!
However, if a doctor makes you uncomfortable or discriminates against you because of your sexuality, serology status, sexual history, mental illness or any other reason my personal belief is that you may choose to speak up but you should definitely move on.
Having a personal doctor is an important part of life, whether it’s just for yearly check ups or management of long term illnesses. Therefore time should be taken into choosing a doctor who is the right fit for you!
Samantha C. Johnson