I don’t want to brag, but I’ve seen a lot of doctors in my life. Maybe I do want to brag. I am now a self-proclaimed expert on doctors. OK, I’m not really an expert. I’m just like most of you trying to find the right medical professional to add to my team. You can sort of feel like the patient equivalent of Goldilocks trying to find the right medical professional -- this one is too cold, this one is too bold, this one is JUST RIGHT. Once you find the right one, hold on to them as tight as you can.
I have been very lucky with my doctors over my psoriatic arthritis life. My first rheumatologist was pretty young and new to the only rheumatology practice in my town. But he was quite knowledgeable about my condition and he talked to me, not at me. I only stopped going to him when he moved. My next rheumatologist was more senior in an established practice. I learned a lot from him as well. He had seen a lot of patients and was very clinical. My current rheumatologist has his own practice but has been around for a little while and is kind of a good mix of those first two.
But when you need a doctor, how do you find them? One of my first questions is, “Do they take my insurance?” To answer this, I go to my insurance website/app and see which doctors are in network. Another good thing I’ve noticed about the insurance website is that many will let you search by location as well. If you need something close to home, close to work, or close to public transportation, this feature can be vital.
After I see which doctors I can choose from, it’s time to narrow it down to the doctor themselves. These days, most medical practices have a website. I have visited websites and looked up a little bit about the doctors. In specialty practices, I have used this to see if they mention my disease in their bio. Word of mouth is also important. A number of friends have used social media to ask about doctors. Also, if you have questions about the doctor, call the office.
Choosing a doctor is a big decision. Don’t feel bad about doing as much research as you can. They will be part of your health care journey, so you want to make sure they are the right person for the job.
To make a short story long, I just want to say you have to find the right doctor/medical professional for you. I look at the medical professional/patient interaction to be a relationship. This relationship is different for everyone. What works for you in a doctor isn’t necessarily the same thing that works for your parents, your sibling, your spouse, or your friend. Are you comfortable with them? Do they listen to you? Do you get treated like you want? If you aren’t getting these, don’t hesitate to look again. Your health is too important to stick with a doctor out of habit. These are the things that I have looked for whenever I have been on the search for a doctor.
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