Meeting your doctor

Preparing to meet your doctor

JGH News, Summer 2013

Getting the most from a medical appointment is no easy task. If you’re nervous or troubled, you might forget to ask about something important. Afterward, you might realize you did not fully understood what the doctor said. Never fear—the JGH Patient & Family Resource Centre can help, with reliable resources on how to prepare.

In the meantime, here are a few tips:

  • Bring a list of questions that cover such areas as symptoms and problems. And don’t forget a pen, so you can note the answers.
  • Bring a complete list of your medications, including vitamins and natural products—even over-the-counter drugs.
  • If you’re unsure what your doctor said, don’t hesitate to ask and, if necessary, to ask for the answer to be repeated.
  • Ask about any follow-up steps to your doctor’s suggestions—e.g., whether another appointment will be needed after prescribed tests.
  • Try to ask “what” questions (“What are the effects of this medication?”), rather than “why” questions (“Why do I need this medication?”).
  • If necessary, have someone you trust join you.
  • If the appointment is for a child, prepare by explaining what can be expected. Also, gently emphasize that a doctor’s appointment is not a punishment.

The JGH’s librarians also remind you that even though a great deal of useful health-related information can be found online or through a librarian, you must discuss it with your doctor. This type of information is general in nature and every patient is unique, so you have to be sure the information really applies to you.

For more on this subject, visit  Health Canada and use the Search words « Conseils sur la salubrité ». You can also contact the Patient and Family Resource Centre at To book an appointment with a JGH librarian to help you find reliable, up-to-date information—even on hard-to-research topics—please call 514-340-8222, extension 22453 or 22438. Or visit the PFRC page.

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