5. “Tell me what you’re worried about right away, not when you’re leaving.”
“You spend time with a patient on an ingrown toenail when the real problem is chest pain,” says Sharon Salloum, MD, a family doctor and the director of clinical skills for first-year medicine at the University of British Columbia. She understands why people often leave the worst for last: They’re nervous, apprehensive. “But if you’ve got something that’s really bugging you, get it out there [first] because it deserves the time.”
Doctors in the survey were divided about what to do when patients have several complaints. Salloum likes to hear the whole list and then prioritize: “We decide what we’re going to deal with today—typically the life-threatening one or the complicated one.” But another GP says, “One problem at a time!”
What you can do: Ask your doctor how he or she prefers to work. If you bring in a list of problems, don’t expect your GP to deal with all of them in one visit.