Touro Infirmary

FALL 2013

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P R E V E N T I V E M E D I C I N E (continued from page 15) TRICKS OF THE TRADE Physicians also learn to help put patients at ease so that the atmosphere is more conducive to an open dialogue. HereÕs what to expect as a patient: • Your doctor will refrain from focusing too much on his or her clipboard or laptop, to encourage eye contact and an interactive conversation between the two of you. • Everyday words rather than medical language will be used, except when absolutely necessary, so that there wonÕt be any confusion about what your doctor says. • The doctor will pay attention to your body language and other nonverbal cues, says Dr. Erin Nash, a staff physician with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, S.C. For example, she says, a physician often can tell if a patient is depressed by looking at his or her eyes, even before symptoms of depression come up in discussion. • 6 Tips for talking to your healthcare provider about diffcult things 1. Bring notes. It is easier to ask a question while you're still in the doctor's offce, rather than trying to get your doctor on the phone for a follow-up. Make a list in advance of all the details you want to discuss so that you don't forget anything. 2. Prioritize. People tend to leave their most sensitive questions and concerns until the end, throwing out some softball questions up front. But Dr. Erin Nash at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, S.C., says you need to start with the most important stuff frst so you know you'll have time to get to it. 3. Be selective. Nurses can be a great resource for patients and doctors alike. Talking to the nurse in advance of your appointment can help the doctor be more prepared. But if you are not comfortable, you can also wait and talk to the doctor alone about your concerns. 4. Be a patient patient. Doctors are under pressure to document everything digitally. Give your physician time to enter a fact into your record before moving on to the next thing. 5. Be prepared. If you are going in for a second opinion, make sure you have all your records, X-rays and other information to aid that process. Dr. Marygrace Elson at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, says it's best to confrm that the nurse has all of your material before you get started. 6. Bring company. If you suspect you'll have a hard time remembering the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, Dr. Nash suggests bringing a friend or family member with you to take notes and provide emotional support. SHUTTERSTOCK 16 SPI RIT O F WOM EN FA L L 2 013 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m

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