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Never Do This at the Doctor's Office, Say Doctors

13 things that annoy doctors, according to doctors. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Ever wonder what your doctor really thinks about you? We did too, so Eat This, Not That! Health talked with a few physicians to get a better understanding of what proper doctor office etiquette is and we learned a lot! While doctors may not tell you, there's a long list of things that patients do that really annoy them. Read below and avoid doing the following 13 things the next time you visit your doctor. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Don't Take Your Time


Dr. Ciri Press Internal Medicine Physician says, "Let's face it. There is (almost) nothing worse than waiting. If you're scheduled to see your doctor at 9am, that's exactly when you want to be seen, right? Making sure you're seen on time is a team effort. Both you and your doctor have to be efficient. Pick your top two concerns that you'd like to have addressed, and hit the ground running. Don't wait until your doctor walks into the room to start rummaging through your purse or your wallet for that list of questions you wrote down for him or her. Don't wait until your doctor comes in to start getting dressed in that gown the nurse laid out for you. Taking your time in the doctor's office means you're also likely cutting into someone else's appointment time." 


Don't Bring Friends

Couple talking in waiting room

"Granted, there may be special circumstances that warrant you having a caregiver or a spouse with you at your doctor's appointment, but the majority of us adults can go it alone," Press says. "Your doctor wants to see you and talk to you. Having others in the room can be distracting, and it can also keep you from being as up front and honest during your appointment. So think of your doctor's appointments as dates for only two. No third wheels!"


Don't Lie

Portrait of nurse and man with face masks

According to Press, "We always know when you're not being honest with us. Once we weigh you, check your vitals and grab some blood work, we can generally see everything we need to know about your health. What we can't always see is what the underlying issue is. Is your blood sugar out of control because you're not taking your medications? Or is your blood sugar out of control because your medications and lifestyle need some adjustments? Tell us the truth, and by doing so, you help us help you."


Don't Try to Self Diagnose with Dr. Google!

man use smart phone while waiting at a clinic

Dr. Patrick McEneaney with Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists explains, "You're in the doctor's office for a reason, to figure out what the issue is – so digging into a black hole of Google searches can actually hurt you. Be ready to describe your symptoms and answer your doctor's questions and let them make the diagnosis."


Be Honest About Your Pain Level

Young woman touching painful neck, sore throat for flu, cold and infection.

Dr. McEneaney says, "Don't undersell your level of pain. The doctor's office isn't the place to sound tough. If it hurts, tell us and be specific about how much it hurts, where, for how long and if it's sharp or dull." 


Be Upfront About That Injury You Have

Female runner suffering with pain on sports running knee injury

"Be honest about how your injury happened," exclaims Dr. McEneaney. "Sometimes how an injury happens is important to knowing what's wrong, so even if it's embarrassing, just tell us, we've heard it all!"


Make Sure to Get Checkups Regularly

Handsome young doctor in white coat is talking to his patient while working in office

"Don't wait too long to visit us!" says Dr. McEneaney. "It's frustrating to talk to patients who come to see me with a serious ailment that could have been addressed sooner, when the problem wasn't as serious or severe." 


Be Organized

patient consulting with doctor on tablet

Dr. McEneaney suggests, "Come prepared. We don't have as much time with our patients as we'd like, so be ready to talk about things when the doctor comes in, don't try to start looking for things when he or she is in front of you." 


Don't Bring in a Groupon Discount Code


Dr. Johnny Franco, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of  Austin Plastic Surgeon says, "Plastic surgery is as hot as ever.  The flexibility with patients working from home, spending money on surgery instead of travel, and seeing ourselves on zoom, are just some of the reasons so many people have explored plastic surgery.  While it is tempting to find a Groupon discount for your next surgery, this is unlikely to be the best path forward.  If you are having plastic surgery this is an investment in yourself.  Your decision should be based on a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon that understands your aesthetic goals, rather than where you can save the most money with a coupon."


Get Off Your Phone

woman smiling and typing on phone

Dr. Franco reminds us that, "While fear of missing out is a reality that keeps us glued to our devices, constantly scrolling through instagram posts during the consultation would be less than productive. Some patients have to wait months for a consultation, so making the most of the time will be essential! Ask pertinent questions and work together with your Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon to develop a plan to help meet your aesthetic goals. It is perfectly fine to have your phone out to take notes or go over the questions you have for the provider, but being distracted by the device would be a disservice." 

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Don't be Afraid of the White Coat

Portrait of a male doctor with stethoscope.

Dr. Franco explains, "Your Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon is there to listen to your wishes and aesthetic goals. We want and need to hear it from you. Come to the appointment with some notes you may have written down regarding areas of concerns, goals, treatments you are interested in, and even wish pictures to elaborate. The appointment should be a conversation between the patient and provider. Nervousness and being shy is normal, but don't let that impede on you communicating your goals to your provider. You are the one undergoing surgery, and we want to make sure you understand and are happy with your treatments."

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Don't Bring a Negative Nancy to your Appointment

couple listening to doctor in his office

Dr. Franco says, "Having someone with you at your appointment can make you feel better, but bringing someone that opposes the treatment or procedure you feel are important to your aesthetic goals, could back pedal any progress that we aim to make in the appointment. While it is standard to discuss the pros, cons, risks, and benefits to any treatment, having a Negative Nancy emphasizing all of the cons and risks could scare you away from going forward with something that could help in building confidence. It is important to bring someone that is supportive of you because while the appointment can sometimes seem nerve-wracking, having positive reinforcement and emotional help can help make the appointment an even better experience."

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Be Yourself

woman consulting with female doctor

"We cannot emphasize enough that no person should undergo a treatment or procedure to make someone else happy or try to fix a problem," Dr. Franco says. "Patients should only want to change these things because it is something that is a part of their aesthetic goals."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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