Your first appointment can be overwhelming, but with the right tools, it can also be a critical time to advocate for yourself. A great first appointment promotes trust and communication on both sides and serves as a foundation for the partnership that follows. That’s why it’s so important for you to be prepared.
How to make the most of your consultation:
- Bring a list of succinct questions, organized in order of their importance to you.
- Start your visit by reviewing what you’d like to cover with your physician at the beginning of the consultation.
- Bring a partner or support person who can record your doctor’s responses to questions and help you stay on track.
- Include your partner in the conversation from the start so that they are receiving the exact same information you are.
- Let your doctor know if you don’t think you have someone who can help you after surgery, so that we can help you create a plan.
- Make sure you have the best contact information for your doctor in case you have additional questions.
- Request a recap of the options presented to you at the end of the consultation.
- Ask about what type of post-op care you might require, anticipated recovery time, and what you might need after surgery.
- Share your family history and current medications including herbs and dietary supplements—those count as medications, too. As uncomfortable as it might be, it is critical to be fully honest about all elements of your lifestyle. Omitting details can greatly impact both your care and your relationship with the treating physician.
Understand that you and your healthcare provider are teaming up. Approach it as you would any new relationship, communicate openly and completely, and avoid self-judgment.