TV’s Marcus Welby, M.D.? (My staff just asked me, “Who is Marcus Welby?”)
I was growing up, that is what I imagined doctors were like universally. Kind, knowledgeable, understanding and
consoling, and always looking out for the patient’s best interest above all else.
As I watched TV weekly, this program “programmed” me to associate these qualities with the
people in the long white coats with stethoscopes around their necks.
the healthcare field has changed dramatically in recent years, trust is still a very important factor in doctor-patient relationships.
As I consult with new patients that come to my office for care, I have encountered a surprising number of patients
that report that they are not exactly happy with their other doctors.
reasons vary, some of which seem reasonable and some do not.
Occasionally, patients have unreasonable
expectations. Some patients express dissatisfaction with what are basically administrative issues, such as having
to wait excessively. Others report feeling that the doctor doesn’t listen to them or is in too much of
a hurry. For some, it seems that they don’t have complete confidence in their doctor.
patients seem to have distrust for the entire field of healthcare. One fellow grunted when I asked about his
primary care physician, “Don’t have one.” “Why not,” I asked. “Well, it’s
a known fact that 50% of doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class,” he replied.
I can’t dispute that statistic, I can offer some reassurance to that patient and other readers. Thankfully,
before any type of doctor is allowed to practice in this state, they must have passed pre-entry exams before being admitted
to graduate school, numerous exams and qualifications during their training, and satisfactorily complete exhaustive board
examinations before being licensed.
In other words, even the least qualified
doctor has successfully attained a high level of training before being turned loose on the public.
however, depends on more than whether a doctor is adequately trained. A trusting relationship with a healthcare
provider requires that the patient feel that the doctor has a genuine interest in their well being. As the old
saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
we have many exceptional doctors here in Rutherford County. If you need a good doctor, I have a few suggestions
to help you find one.
- Schedule an initial consultation
to discuss your needs. Take the time to prepare by writing down the things that you would like to discuss with
the doctor. Due to time limitations, you may not be able to delve into every conceivable concern, but at least
you can prioritize the things that are most important to you.
your visit, be very upfront about concerns you have that may affect your satisfaction. Ask the staff about typical
waiting times, fees, insurance issues, or other administrative details.
you meet with the doctor use your time efficiently to tell them about the health concerns that you have prioritized.
Ask the doctor about their opinion of the best way to proceed to meet your healthcare needs. (This might include scheduled
examinations, tests, imaging, consultations with other providers, referrals, etc.)
- If you feel comfortable with this doctor and the recommendations, proceed
accordingly with their plan.
- If you are not sure that you have found a doctor in whom you have confidence, it may
be a good idea to consider a second opinion.
Did you notice that a good part of developing a
satisfactory relationship with your doctor depends upon your behavior as well as the doctor’s? In order
for the doctor to perform their duties well, you must be open, honest, cooperative and communicative.
week I’ll share some new scientific discoveries that can help you stay warm.
Dr. Mark Kestner