How To Behave in a Doctor's Office

Visiting a doctor’s office can be stressful, even for a well visit. Knowing how to behave in the doctor’s office can make the visit less stressful, and help insure that you get the most out of your visit.

Step 1 – Prepare for your visit before you arrive.

Schedule an appointment for a time that offers you the best chance to arrive on time. Consider commute time from your home or office and schedule accordingly. Before arriving, check to be sure that you have your current insurance card. Write down a list of any questions for the doctor and take this list with you. If it is imperative that you be seen on time, consider asking for the first appointment of the day, or the first appointment after lunch. These preparations will make your trip to the doctor’s office more efficient and productive.

Step 2 – Dress appropriately

In many instances, your clothing can make your doctor’s office visit more difficult than necessary. Think about the type of visit you are having, and dress appropriately. If blood will be drawn, consider wearing a short sleeved shirt. If you are having a full physical, it may be beneficial to wear loose fitting clothing that is easily removed.  Using common sense about clothing choices can definitely impact your comfort in the doctor's office.

Step 3 – Be on time, or a few minutes early.

Arrive at or before your scheduled appointment time. You may be asked to update your medical history, or insurance information. Being even a few minutes early gives you the time to fill out the necessary paperwork, without setting the office behind schedule.

Step 4 – If you are ill, respect others in the waiting room.

If you are visiting the doctor because you are ill, be sure to be respectful of others in the waiting room. Try to sit away from other patients, and if possible, do a few simple things to prevent spreading germs. If writing out a check, or filling out forms, bring your own pen and use it. If you are coughing or sneezing, be sure to cover your mouth. If possible, bring your own magazine to read.  If the patient is your child rather than yourself, be sure to bring some of your child’s own toys.  These seemingly small steps can help stop the spread of a variety of germs.

Taking the right steps before ever setting foot in the doctor’s office is in your best interest. Behaving responsibly by following these simple preparations has the potential to take a stressful situation and make it more pleasant for all involved. Above all, remember that a doctor's office often must deal with unexpected emergencies. Your best behavior may simply be the ability to demonstrate patience.


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