ROCKINGHAM – It’s important to know how to talk to your doctor, and a couple of public service advertisements reminding us of that fact are currently showing up on evening television. You’ve probably seen them.
Amir M. Darwish, M.D.
Joseph G. Gibbons, D.O.
Shilpesh P. Patel, M.D.
One of them shows an annoying shopper pelting a sales clerk with questions about cell phone features, but then having nothing to say when he’s face to face with his doctor in an exam room. Another features a chatty woman in a restaurant with a stream of questions about the menu and food preparation but only an embarrassed shake of her head when her doctor asks if she has any questions for her.
Since many people find it hard to talk to their health care providers, the FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital Foundation has scheduled a free education session designed to help relieve that discomfort. “How to Talk to Your Doctor,” a panel discussion and question-and-answer session featuring three Richmond County physicians, will be held Monday, Aug. 29, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital.
Refreshments will be provided, and the public is invited to attend.
Physicians who will take part in the program are Amir M. Darwish, M.D., Sandhills Internal Medicine Clinic; Joseph G. Gibbons, D.O., FirstHealth Richmond Medical Group – Internal Medicine; and Shilpesh P. Patel, M.D., Richmond Internal Medicine.
“Communication is the most important aspect for the patient and the doctor, but it is also one of the most difficult aspects of the office visit or hospitalization,” says Dr. Gibbons. “A lot of the time the patient is not sure what to ask. Many times patients also don’t ask questions, because they feel they should already know what they want to ask and, therefore, are intimidated or embarrassed to ask.”
A patient’s relationship with his/her doctor and how comfortable the two are about talking with each other can affect the quality of patient care. Here are a few tips on how to make talking to your doctor more effective:
- Be Prepared: Write down any questions you may have, make a list of your symptoms if you’re not feeling well and bring a list of all the medicines you are currently taking.
- Speak Up: If you don’t understand what your doctor is telling you, ask him/her to explain it.
- Don’t Withhold Information: The more information you share, the better the doctor will be able to figure out what’s wrong and how to treat you.
- Bring Someone With You: A family member or friend can help you relax, remind you of questions you forgot to ask and help you remember what the doctor said.
- Follow Up: If you forget to ask a question, call back. If the doctor wants you to come back for a follow-up visit, be sure to set up and keep the appointment.
“Patients should feel comfortable with their doctor so that they can ask any questions without feeling shy or embarrassed,” Dr. Gibbons says. “They should be inquisitive about their diagnosis, the plan for treatment, what the consequences could be and how they work with the physician to improve their health. Our Aug. 29 program will give people a chance to talk candidly and find out how we all can improve communication together.”
If you would like to attend the Aug. 29 “How to Talk to Your Doctor” education session at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital, please call (910) 417-3701 to make a reservation.
FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital is a division of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.