Family Living Focus: Visiting with your Physician

To stay healthy, you need to feel comfortable talking with your physician and your nurses. Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable.


Ask questions. If you don’t understand what your physicians or nurses say, ask them to explain. Always ask about any medicines or tests they say you need. If you don’t ask, they may think you have all the information you want.

Let your physicians and nurses know if you need more time to ask questions about your health. If the physician doesn’t have time that day, you may be able to talk to another physician or nurse, schedule another appointment, or find out when you can call later to speak to someone.

Some physicians and health plans have call-in lines. If you call, you can speak to an advice nurse. Tele-health visits are also available by some providers. Consider this option to visit with medical professionals.


Your health history. Tell your physicians and nurses about your health history. For example, tell them about any major diseases or operations you have had. Be sure to mention family history of diseases and conditions. For example, if high blood pressure runs in your family, let your physician know.

Your health now. Only you know how you feel and whether you feel differently than you did before. Tell your physicians and nurses. Also tell them if you take any medicines, herbs, or supplements such as vitamins or calcium. And let them know if you are seeing another physician or a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, or any kind of therapist. Don’t hesitate to report personal information. Feel free to talk about your beliefs and concerns. You don’t need to wait to be asked.

Be sure to tell your physician and nurses if you have any allergies or reaction to medicines.


Once you leave the physician’s office, follow up.

If you have questions, call the physician’s office.

If you have problems with your medicine, call your physician or your pharmacist.

If you need to see a specialist or get a test, make the appointment or ask your physician’s office to make the appointment.

If you do no hear from your physician or nurse about test results, call and ask. If you don’t understand the results, ask what they mean.

Following these tips of ASK, TELL and FOLLOW UP can help make your visit with your physician or nurse much more effective.


If you would like more information on “Visiting with your Physician” feel free to contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus — University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.


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