Understanding the Doctor’s Orders

Tips for your visit

Safe, quality health care means taking an active role in your health. Make sure you get ready for doctor visits by making a list of questions, such as:  

  • Can you tell me about my health problem and what care is needed?
  • Do I need a certain test? Do I need surgery? If so, why?
  • What hospital is best for this procedure?
  • How many times have you performed this test or surgery?
  • Do I need to start a new drug or change what I’m taking now?
  • What are likely results of taking a drug?

Also keep in mind:

  • Bring a list of all medications, past surgeries and your family’s health facts.
  • Jot down notes about what your doctor says.
  • Ask the doctor to repeat any comments that are not clear.

Quality care will be just what the doctor ordered when you are ready for your visit.

Prepping your child to visit the doctor

Here are a few tips for younger children who are seeing a doctor for the first time:

  • Play it out. Buy a play doctor’s kit and let children tend to you or their stuffed animals.
  • Tell children that a shot will hurt but it will be over soon, and it is important for them to stay well.
  • Take younger children to their older siblings’ visits so they’re used to the routine.
  • Bring a stuffed toy. The doctor can “examine” the animal first to make them feel better about what will happen.
  • Express confidence. Tell your children, “I know you’re going to do the best you can at the doctor’s office.”
  • Share a picture book that helps explain what to expect during a visit to the doctor.


Source: Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research