Medical Professionals

I always think i am going to go and ask them this that and the other and when i get there i go all shy and scared and very nervous and never get very far.

Does any one have any advice on how to speak with medical professionals and to get what they are actually doing across and how to get across what they would like to achieve before the next time they see them?

12 Replies

  • Write what you need to ask them down on some paper and when you get there give them the piece of paper questions asked without opening your mouth might seem silly but I have done that with my own GP when I was scared talking about mental health and she was more than happy that I did it that way hope that helps


  • From a Medical Pro's Perspective...

    1. Don't go in there all guns blazing. That will automatically put your Med Pro on a back foot and in a defensive position, and is unlikely to help.

    2. Write it down if you find you forget to ask stuff. Lists of questions are helpful to both people in a consultation. Don't worry if something seems silly - ask it anyway. Chances are we'll have been asked it before by others.

    3. If you don't understand, or want something explained again, just ask. Sometimes we get a bit carried away in techno-babble. We don't do it on purpose, honest, sometimes we just need reigning in a bit.

    4. If we say something that you're not keen on, or don't agree with, or scares you silly, please say. Again, sometimes we get a bit carried away. Occasionally I'll ask for some completely routine test that to me is innocuous, but my patient may be horribly frightened by the implications.

    5. If you can't see the point, or can't see what your pathway of care is going to be, ask for a rough ""road map"" of what's going to happen over the next few months/weeks. Ask if you can agree goals together - as a team, you're much more likely to achieve things together if you're all agreed on which direction you're going and what you're trying to achieve.

    6. Ask, ask, ask again. Don't be afraid to say if you don't agree or if you're worried - we're all human (well, most of us, anyway...;)).

    Um. Might have repeated myself there. But that's my starter for ten, anyway.

  • Fair points there Cath but I always find it's hard to get them to do what you want, and if you don't agree with something and they do, they won't back down or change their mind and then you feel like you have to be defensive because they're trying to force you to do something you don't want to. I often find this when I go to appts with my sister. I think they think because she can't talk and disagree herself they don't really care and will just try and do it anyway and generally can't really be bothered to listen because she wouldn't object but to me, that isn't the point. We're her family and know her better than they ever will, but they seem to think they're the ones with the title so they call the shots. Fortunately for her we're all pretty forceful and won't take no for an answer so whoever she goes with we make sure she's sorted.

    Claire xx

  • I make a list of questions and suggestion on how I want/would like things to progress in the week leading upto the appointment. That way you have time to list questions and suggestions, and not have to rely on thinking so much at the meeting, when you are trying to take things in and explain what you want all in a short time.

  • A lovely GP I once had said the best way was to remember that he did the washing up and changed the nappies just like any other human father, I called him by his 1st name and had the utmost confidence in him. Mind you he also added that arriving at the appointment with a bottle of decent wine works well too :) My current GP is lovely but is retiring next week :( He never minded me making an appointment to go through my drugs when major changes had been made and I wanted to make sure that the right drug at the right dose was put on my repeat form. I have been lucky I have liked all my GP's and have always got on well with them.

  • I'm probably just repeating what others have said, but I write things down in a bullet pointed list. Depending upon how I'm feeling, I either go through the points or give it to my (wonderful) GP to read. I have particular difficulties with communication so I do worry about not making myself understood or not understanding, but overcoming that has been about both my GP and I getting to know each other and what works. If I'm really struggling I'll get some things from her in writing as I can comprehend it in my own time (always with the knowledge I can go back if I'm uncertain). I also now nearly always have a double appointment (at my GP's request) as it means neither of us feel rushed and being unrushed makes it easier to communicate rather than trying to get everything out quickly.

  • I'm probably not the best at communicating with my GP. I tend to try to make appointments occassionally when I'm not desparately unwell to sort out medication and see if we can get rid of any side effects I get from it. But I have found, as said by the others, that making a list works well when I go see my consultant. He has a habit of talking at me about things that, normally, don't seem that important to me. By having a list of all the questions I want answered I can let him ramble and then make him answer them all- if I don't write them down I get so distracted by him rambling that I can't remember them.

    Having said that it applies mainly to appointments that I go to on my own. I have found on occasion when acutely unwell it helps to have someone else there just to remind you of anything you might not have taken in and to ask any questions that you forget to ask. I have also found that as a 19 year old girl you are taken more seriously when you have a parent with you. (Although this does mean tolerating the numerous bizaare questions they ask, which is the reason they are banned from normal appointments) Do you have someone who could go with you to appointments on occasion?

  • from another perspective....

    From the perspective of another health pro can I add a couple:

    - be realistic about what we can achieve, particularly at 3am in A&E, we are here to deal with the problem now. Please see your GP (or consultant) for long term management, they are far more expereinced than us & know you better.

    - Please be honest with us when we ask you if you're feeling better, don't just tell us what you think we want to hear.

    - please bring a list of your current medicines with you. Bringing your own peak flow meter is also handy. For gold stars your personal plan or clinic letters!

    - tell us what usually works and doesn't work for you, we appreciate hints!

    - there are only two doctors in a&e overnight. If we are dealing with something nasty we can both be tied up for a while. If you are struggling please tell the nurses

    if you are known to have asthma we will often write up nebs quickly and get to you as soon as possible.


  • Well said ST,

    i am personally guilty of telling Drs what they want to hear and not necessarily the truth... I just hate hospitals (a lot!!!) and i guess the thought is they will let me home quicker though i do know thats not a good idea!!

    Im better than i was at it though!! Thanks though its good to be reminded of these things!

    Kat Xx

  • Thank you for all your helpful replies, i will be taking a list of questions with me when i see my next medical professional. WIll let you know how it goes.

    When i go to a and e, i always take a list of my medication, health conditions and allergies along with asthma plan. Thank you for the tips ST, i will try to remember my peak flow if going from home and will also let them knwo what works for me, it is normally either nebs or iv magnesium in my personal case.

  • Well i saw my consultant and did not really get very far, he did not answer half the questions i had although he did actually agree to writing me a new asthma plan so i guess something was achieved. I will take the unanswered questions of this time when i go and see him again in a months time.

  • looks like you made some progress with a new action plan, thats great, but why didn't they answer all your questions? Was it short on time, not really an excuse, or did you give him the list? best option is to ask each question and don't move on to another question/topic until that one has been answered. Getting answers to your questions is really important to you, so do try again.

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