Each of us have experiences with good and bad doctors. Having a good doctor in your corner, aligned with your needs and preferences, is key in a long-lasting relationship to make health a priority and to stay healthy. A good experience is not only with the doctor, but with all staff (reception, nurse, etc.). Careful consideration will help you avoid wasting time and energy.
Recently, I have been in search for a primary care doctor. I reached out to my oncologist office for recommendations to fill prescriptions and annual exams. When I scheduled an appointment, I requested a female physician for the visit. However, when I arrived a male physician was scheduled for my annual checkup among other topics of discussion. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the complications during this visit.
We need to remember choosing a physician is our choice. What should we look for when deciding? Below are twelve traits I learned from Habits of a Great Physician by Dr. Purser to look for in a physician when considering my options:
Affability – My physician needs to be easy to approach
Affordability – I look for physicians who bring the most value while staying in my budget
Availability – If I have complications, I need easy access to advice
Kind - Gentle in nature and desire to help others is an important characteristic
Listener – Taking the time to understand one’s situation, feelings, and symptoms is crucial
Compassionate - Feeling or showing someone is there who cares for you
Empathetic - Understands and shares experiences and emotions
Long-Suffering – Extremely patient during difficult times
Energetic – Will never stop to find a solution for your symptoms or diagnosis
Brave – Thinking and acting clearly in the face of difficult situations
Curious - Desire to learn or know more and not satisfied with simple answers
Persistent - Lasting perseverance through the good and bad times
Fortunately, my oncologist exemplifies these twelve traits. When I went through my difficult stretches during cancer treatment, he didn’t allow me to give up. Many times, he convinced me to keep fighting and to give it one more chance. He was at the hospital each time I was admitted, always checking in throughout my stays. He listened to my concerns and discussed them with me. By having someone who was a listener, available, compassionate, empathetic, long-suffering, brave, and persistent made him the best doctor. He is a huge part as to why I am cancer-free today.
Do not be afraid to be selective when choosing a doctor. Always remember it is okay to walk away if you are not comfortable with the doctor you visit as it is your health and life you need to protect. There are many other doctors who embody these twelve traits and can help you in more ways than you can imagine.