How do you turn on your tough girl mode? Your Sasha Fierce. You know, when it's time to put up or shut up, speak your mind and stand your ground, how do you get pumped up to do it?
I have an appointment this afternoon where I have to speak up about some mistreatment I feel I've been getting. I say "have to" because that's part of who I am - if I'm upset about something, it wells up inside of me until I think I'm going to burst and tell everysinglepersonintheworld about it (ohlookey,what I'm doing right now).
I also "have to" because I'm really passionate - some might say angry - about customer service, especially in the medical arena. As a frequent patient, I'm well aware of the difficulties of both roles - patient and provider - but nothing gets me more mad than doctors that don't treat their patients well. I've had a few nightmare doctors in my time, including the classic "I'll see you for five seconds and interrupt all of your questions" guy as well as the one who accused me of being a drug addict for needing headache treatment and dismissed me from his care.
|Screwed by the system? from here.|
There's a god-complex among doctors these days, and even the good doctors are often surrounded by so much red tape and administrative chaos that they can't operate effectively. Clearly, the system is broken and I can't tell you what we need to do to fix it. But I do have some ideas on what we, as patients, can do help get our needs met.
-Be a good patient. This does not mean being in perfect health or lying that you only have one drink a week if you have 15. Being a good patient means coming to the office prepared to speak openly with your doctor, asking questions to make sure you fully understand their advice, and following instructions as closely as possible. It's just like in any other work setting - if you expect them to do their job, you should do yours.
- Be friendly to the nurses/administrative assistants. It's not their fault the doctor makes you wait for an extra 45 minutes or that she's booked until the end of the world. Try to understand their position and also utilize them for the great resource they are. Nurses tend to know as much or more as doctors when it comes to the actual down and dirty treatment and they're a lot more likely to sit down and talk to you until all your questions are answered.
-Speak Up. When things go wrong, don't stew about it. You have to speak up and protect your rights as a patient. Has your doctor made a mistake or ignored an important symptom? Has the office failed to return your calls, emails and carrier pigeons? Say something. Nothing will get fixed unless you do. Be calm and concise (carry a list of what you want to say, if you need to) and don't be afraid! Ok, I'm saying that more for my own benefit here, but try not to be!
I hope this helps any of you readers who swim the murky waters of health care -stay strong! Or at least stay healthy so you don't have to go there...
PS Friends, let me know - is health a topic you're interested in hearing more about here on the blog? I have a scary amount of knowledge when it comes to health food, supplements, treatments, etc. but don't want to start a snooze fest....