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10 Facts Women Need to Know to Get the Best Medical Care

June 10, 2019

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I'm Mickie. I run One Strong Southern Girl from Small Town, TN. I love what I do. I want you to remember me because I helped changed your life. 

Hello!

Exercise is just one component of your overall health. 

Today I’m not talking about exercise but instead I’ll be talking about another way you need to be taking care of your body.

I’m sharing 10 very important truths every woman needs to hear so they can be a valuable team player with their medical provider.

As a licensed Physician Assistant, I’m sharing gamechanging tips with you today that you can use the next time you see a medical provider as a patient or a caregiver for someone you love.

This information will help you now and for the rest of your life so listen carefully. 

This is how you and your medical provider become teammates to get you the best medical care possible.

This topic was covered on an episode of the Crunches and Cosmos Podcast. You can listen to the episode below:

To get all the details about how to team up with your medical provider, I recommend you listen to the podcast episode but this post provides a good summary.

a stethoscope and heart graphic on a blue background with black text

So, let’s talk about 10 ways to become a team player with your medical provider….

1. You’re in charge of your health–own it

It’s not the job of the medical provider to make sure you have yearly physicals, follow ups and an understanding about your healthcare or diagnoses.

You MUST take ownership of it.

Step up and take control of your own healthcare.

2. Not every medical provider is good

When I was a little girl I was raised to have the utmost respect for the doctor.  My parents NEVER questioned their doctor.

As a medical provider I understand now that there are medical providers out there that aren’t good providers.

I’m not talking about having a bad personality, here.  I’m talking about not being good at their job.

Luckily, there aren’t that many out there.  BUT if you see a red flag then find a new medical provider.

What are a few things that are red flags for me:

A medical provider who refuses to say ‘I don’t know’ (no one is an expert at EVERYTHING

A medical provider who won’t take the time to answer your questions (or who makes you feel like you’re a bother)

3. Ask questions—a lot of them (and write down notes and questions for next time)

You need to take notes during your office visit.

Write down the answers you get to your questions. (You’ll forget what’s said during the visit. Write it down as soon as you can. I always write my notes as soon as I get to the car.)

Your medical provider should be happy to answer your questions and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask them.

Keep a dedicated journal in your purse or in your car and use it to write down the things the medical provider tells you at each visit.  And use it to write down questions for your next visit.

This is a great way to get continuity of care when you see multiple providers for different medical conditions.

4. The ancillary staff runs the show at most offices–be nice to them

The nurses, office manager and front desk staff run the show at the medical office.

Be nice to them. 

They have a difficult job.  Let them know when they’re crushing it.  It’ll make their day and they need to hear it.

5. If you live in a small town you don’t have to drive somewhere else to get good healthcare

I live in a small town and I constantly hear people tell me that they can’t get good healthcare because ‘it’s a small town’.

That’s not true.

All the bad doctors didn’t move out to the country.  I promise.

There are good (and bad) medical providers everywhere.

If it makes you feel better to drive several hours to see a medical provider then go for it. But it’s not necessary.

6. Be honest with your medical provider

Tell your medical provider everything they ask—be honest—they aren’t trying to set you up for a sting—but they can’t treat you to the best of their ability if you leave out information.

Tell your medical provider about everything in your medical history and current condition.

All of the questions are being asked for a reason that ties into your treatment.

If you want the best treatment you must be completely honest when you answer these questions.

If you aren’t completely honest then you’re forcing your provider to put together a puzzle without all the pieces. It’s not fair to them. And you’re only hurting yourself in the end.

7. You don’t always need a specialist but sometimes you do

Some people want to see a specialist right off the bat and some people resist the notion that they might need a specialist at any point.

If you’re being referred to a specialist you need to go but (most of the time) you don’t need to go until you’re referred there by general medical provider.

8. Please remember you’re not the medical provider

I mean this in the most respectful way possible, you and your healthcare provider are a team with the same goal, but resist the urge to tell your medical provider how to do their job.

It’s a great idea to do a little research before you get to your appointment but remember you’re only one member of the team.

Don’t diagnose yourself before you get there. 

Have your questions ready and the mindset that you’re willing to listen and get to the bottom of things together.

9. When the time comes, take someone with you (or go with someone if they need it)

This is the best advice for anyone who has a chronic condition or a severe illness that’s going to require repeated medical visits.

Bring someone who can be your advocate to take notes and be your extra set of ears.

10. Do what your healthcare provider asks you to, please

Don’t decide to stop your medicine or change your treatments without consulting your medical provider first.

TIP OF THE DAY!

Share this post with the women in your life! Then go make an appointment for your physical!

Don’t put it off. Go do it now.

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How to help someone you love start exercising

Home exercise vs. the gym–which one is better? Let’s take a look.

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  1. Sunny says:

    As a male family physician, I have to say this is good advice for men too! In fact, they are probably more likely to stop their meds on a whim, or benefit from having someone with them, or being honest about what they are struggling with.

    • Hi Sunny! Thanks so much for reading and making a great point! And yes, you’re right, in my experience male patients seem to be more likely to stop meds on a whim and have more difficulty being honest about what their medical concerns are. And we could all use another set of ears when we go see a medical provider. My audience is mostly female so I love to focus in on what can help them but almost all of my articles have information that’s for men and women. I really appreciate your insight as a physician! Thanks for taking the time to share this! Have a great day! Mickie

  2. Nicci says:

    What great information!!! Thank you so much for caring enough to offer this! I’m an RN of 19 years. I have been a travel nurse and worked all over. This is outstanding advice I am excited to share. Thanks again!

    • An RN for 19 years! On behalf of every patient you’ve ever treated–THANK YOU! The job you do is SO IMPORTANT and I know you aren’t told that enough. Your feedback means a lot to me. Thank you, Nicci!!

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