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Choosing a Doctor? 6 Ways to Know If Your Doctor is “Good”

Choosing a Doctor? 6 Ways to Know If Your Doctor is “Good”

Being a patient is never something that anyone (not even doctors) likes to experience. The word patient is derived from the Latin word, suffer, and many of us would agree that this is an accurate descriptor. As a patient, we are precariously vulnerable—forced to turn over absolute confidence in what could be considered a complete stranger. Oftentimes, we walk into a doctor’s office with seemingly outrageous expectations: “Cure me, now,” we beg of our physicians. What we are really seeking, though, is simply for a doctor that makes us feel safe, heard, and confident.

While we may never find the perfect doctor able to make us feel both comfortable and healed at all times, we can certainly adjust our expectations and decide what makes a “near-perfect doc.”  The right patient-doctor relationship can mean faster diagnosis, a greater probability that you will see your doctor more regularly and decrease the likelihood that you will have to go through the laborious task of switching doctors during a time when you need a doctor most.

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Choosing a doctor is an incredibly personal decision. Your time, health, and money are on the line. Your definition of “good” will differ from the next person’s, so know what it is you are looking for. For you, what makes a doctor good?

Here are a few non-negotiable traits that every doctor should embody and a few factors to consider when determining your personal preferences:

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1. Compassion

Compassion isn’t a virtue that comes packaged with medical training. It’s an inborn trait that can be nurtured by emulating caring mentors in medical schools, not necessarily taught. Some people are innately more compassionate and caring than others. If you are lucky enough to find a caring and compassionate doctor, you are in good hands for they are sure to go to great lengths to get you through your ailment. Studies have found that these values are strongly linked to higher quality of care and far better patient outcomes.

2. Competency

Competency means embodying the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job effectively. Competency comes only from training and experience. For doctors, experience begins with training and starts the moment they enter medical school. Competent doctors are able to interpret the situation in the context that is relevant, especially during emergencies. Staying up-to-date on the latest research and technology is essential to becoming a great doctor. Do a quick search online to check out any recent articles your doctor has published or any talks they’ve recently given. You can also find out how many years they’ve practiced medicine, any awards they’ve received and even reviews from former patients.

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3. Bedside Manners

Numerous studies have shown a link between lousy bedside manners and poor medical outcomes. Every patient wants to find a doctor who listens. A doctor can be among the best in their field, but if they have poor bedside manners, patients are forced to choose between competency and kindness. Doctors can often appear rushed, but you should feel important during your visits. Be sure you feel comfortable and confident that your doctor cares—caring is just as important as competency. Don’t sacrifice kindness in a doctor or you risk the subconsciously wanting to avoid the doctor, even when you know you really need to go.

4. Gender

Ask yourself: “Do I really feel comfortable and open with a doctor of the opposite sex?” Be truthful with yourself. If the answer is no, then don’t push the boundaries. You can test the waters here, but ultimately, go with your gut and make an honest decision. It is okay to bias here.

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5. Age

Age may matter to some, and not at all to others. Do you feel less vulnerable with someone your own age? Perhaps you’d like someone a bit younger so you can feel a sense of control. Or, maybe you’d like someone older who you deem wiser. Whatever your call, consider your options and in which scenario you’d feel the most comfortable.

6. Action Plan

Clarity of thought process and action planning is important in assessing a clinical condition. If your doctor orders a test, they must also know how to deal with the results. Having an action plan means that your doctor has control over the situation, whether treating a medical condition or consulting a sub-specialist when they’re is not sure of the treatment options. When it comes to the bad news, do you feel confident in your doctor’s ability to develop a successful treatment plan? You need to be onboard with your doctor’s strategies and thus have unwavering confidence in their ability to lead you back to health.

Being a good doctor means embodying all the above characteristics. The next time you make a doctor’s visit, evaluate your doctor against these criteria and determine what you are looking for and whether or not your doctor fits the bill.

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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