A patient, looking stressed, sitting in front of a healthcare professional who is taking notes

Working with the Professionals - Part 2

In my initial post regarding working with professionals, I talked about how health care professionals (HCP) want the best for us when helping to care for our diabetes. These are amazing professionals. However, sometimes they forget that the patient has a voice and has input into their health care. So what do you do when the relationship isn’t ideal, or worse yet, goes south? Sometimes it may be worth taking a look at what made you feel uncomfortable with the interaction. HCPs can have a bad day or say things in a less helpful way without realizing it. Give them the opportunity to speak to it and own it. If they don’t, we have options.

Get a new specialist

This one always seems drastic to me but in some cases very necessary. Make yourself a list of all the good things you’ve done before you go in since you saw him last. Take control of the appointment before he does. I usually say what I want to talk about, how I’m feeling, and how hard I’ve worked to get the numbers I have. I recently read an article that says within 11 seconds physicians will interrupt what the patient is attempting to say at the start of the visit.1 If this happens, I would point out that I want to share some information with him first and ask him to let me finish speaking. “I know you want to be supportive of me and all my hard work.” He’s unlikely to disagree. You can invite his input. ”How are my numbers this time?” “What can you suggest to support me?“ Recognize that not all specialists are doctors. A Certified Diabetes Educator can be a nurse or a dietitian. They don’t have to be an endocrinologist. Try a new HCP if you need to.

Get a less specialized HCP

I am a firm believer in having specialists, when needed. I also firmly believe, they are not always needed. I would argue to the ends of the earth that a family physician can have a solid knowledge base on things such as diabetes, especially with the rise in numbers they see in their practice. Family physicians, or your ‘primary,’ work hard to stay on top of the information they need to provide amazing care if we let them. You may be surprised at the evidence-based knowledge a generalized HCP has. This may be a really good option for care.

Avoid all care providers

Sometimes we get caught in a system that is not supportive and we just give up when we seek and don’t find. It’s good to have knowledge, be self-confident and be at the centre of our care but sometimes we are over confident. I think we do ourselves a huge disservice when this happens. It’s good to know your limits. The internet is full of ‘research.’ There is a lot of opinion held up as research. I worry that we make decisions in the short run that won’t service us very well in the long run. It never hurts to look but with a discerning eye if we go it alone.

When communication hasn’t gone well, address it. You are important. Don’t let a poor appointment rob you of the best care possible.

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