I couldn’t believe what was happening! “Did that doctor just swear at us?” I wondered. As we walked out of the room, I no longer wondered as I heard the profanities dripping from his lips like needles.
We were there to discuss a brain aneurysm. Something that was pushing on the optic nerve and causing vision problems and could even cause death if it suddenly ruptured.
He then asked if my mother-in-law wanted to get a flu shot while she was there. She politely declined as did my father-in-law.
The fact that I was in nursing school had come up earlier, so he looked to me for support. I felt the heat rise in my cheeks and anxiety creep up in my heart as it started pounding. I did what I was trained to do and advocated for my patient (I was asked to go to this appointment because I had the medical knowledge to understand in depth what the doctor wanted to discuss)
I told him I thought that if they didn’t want to get it, then they shouldn’t. They are capable adults who can make decisions like this. That’s when he lost it.
Disgust spread across his face and then the colorful language started flowing. He stuck his finger in my face and stated angrily: “You will never work in any hospital or nursing home in the county if I have any say about it”.
Fortunately for me, his wife (who was the actually the dean of my nursing school) didn’t kick me out. And unfortunately for him, I went on to have a successful career in nursing in that very county.
Even though this is my experience with a patient and a horrible doctor. I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve had who have been shamed, embarrassed, ignored, or even harassed by their doctor. My answer is always the same –
How did we get here?
I usually get some explanation of how this has been their family doctor for ___ years, or this doctor is in a network. But here is the cold, hard truth of the matter; your doctor works for you!
That’s right! You pay your doctor, not your insurance company! Whether it’s through insurance, co-pay, or cash, you pay your doctor’s salary. You have every right to ask the questions, expect to be treated with respect, to be listened to. To be treated as a person and not just another visit, or even worse, a number.
You shouldn’t expect (nor do you deserve) to have a prescription shoved in your face, to be brushed off, to be told that “it’s all in your head” or this is “normal”.
We live in a country that spends the most per capita on healthcare, Yet we rank about 27th on the list of overall health in developed countries. This is exactly why. The average doctor spends only 15 minutes with each patient during a visit.
Today I want to help you learn how to find a doctor that will help you. Here are some steps that you can take to find someone that will listen, care, treat you as a person, and address your concerns.
The average time spent with a doctor during a routine visit is only about 15 minutes!
So how do you find the right fit?
- Pray – This is totally a part of my health strategy. Whenever I’m not sure what to do or what to pursue, I ask God for wisdom!
- Look outside of MD’s – Our first practitioner for our daughter was a Nurse Practitioner. She was amazing and the first one who recommended probiotics to me. Both DO’s and NP’s are (in general), more holistically-minded and usually are able to spend more time with their patients.
- Look outside of the medical field completely – The medical field has a very separated view of the body (remember the doctor who told me the gut had nothing to do with the skin)? Many fields outside of medical take a very holistic view of the body and believe everything is interconnected.This means that they may catch that your headaches are cyclical and therefore may be hormonal, so they help you get those hormones balanced and (poof) those headaches are gone! I have seen a wide variety of practitioners over the years. Here are some who have been the most helpful for me: nutritionist, chiropractor, a KST practitioner, massage therapist, and craniosacral therapist.Some other practitioners to consider; Myofascial practitioner, holistic dentist, and acupuncturist.
- Interview – technically, you are hiring this person to do a job, so you should interview them! See if they have any meet and greets, open houses, or a discovery call for potential clients. They should be willing to spend a little time with you before you hire them to help you. Click below for a form you can use for interviewing potential practitioners.
- Date them – Ok what I really mean by this is go in with an open mind. If you don’t like what you see, then move on. We moved about two years ago and it took me 3 tries to find a chiropractor I loved. Yes, paying that new consultant fee felt like money down the drain at first. But I finally found a chiropractor who is amazing and reasonable and knows our family well
- Pay up – So many times, I hear the excuse “I can’t afford. . . “ and I get it, I really do. The first time I took my son to see a chiropractor, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to pay for it. But we gave some things up to invest in him because our sanity was with it. What’s your health worth to you?
- Read – There are so many amazing books and blogs available now, that if you truly can’t afford a good practitioner, you can learn as much as possible from good ones through their books, blogs, or podcasts. I learned so much on how to help my kids by doing just that because we couldn’t afford a lot at that time.After that episode, I told my in-laws they needed to fire their doctor. Initially, there was some pushback as that had been their doctor for a long time, but after chatting with them, they agreed that it was probably the right decision and found someone else.
Have you ever had to fire a practitioner?