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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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