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Things You Should Never Do at the Doctor's Office, Say Doctors

Your doctor would appreciate you never doing this again.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Doctors and healthcare workers are reporting record levels of burnout after more than two years of pandemic-related stress. "In medicine, there's a lot of talk about burnout because it is so prevalent," says Sudhakar V. Nuti, MD, MSc. "It's especially common among trainees like me, where an 80-hour workweek is the expectation. I'm supposedly among the up to 75% of trainees who experience burnout, but I find it hard to imagine that 25% of residents are feeling hunky-dory during this pandemic. And COVID-19 has only increased stress and burnout among interns, residents, and other trainees." Here are five things making your doctor's stress even worse. 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 Lie About Your Health

doctor patient consult insomnia

According to a 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open, 80% of patients lie to their doctors—don't be one of those people. "If patients conceal bad health habits from their doctor, they're only fooling themselves," says Dr. Brian Goldman. "They're missing an opportunity to at least start the process of quitting smoking, exercising, improving their diet and entering recovery from alcohol and drug misuse."


Don't Be Late

A mature man having a medical exam done in the doctors office.

Being consistently late not only indicates a lack of respect for your doctor, it makes them late for other patients—who then naturally become annoyed about being kept waiting. "Sometimes things happen, and patients are late," says Kara Vavrosky, RDHEP. "However, for patients who are late every single time, some sort of consequence needs to take place. Otherwise, it will continue to happen over and over. It's just not fair or respectful to the patients who do come in on time to their scheduled appointment to be seen late because of one person's lack of respect for anyone else's time. Patients might even leave a practice if they are always seen late, no matter what the cause."


Don't Forget Your Mask

Portrait of nurse and man with face masks

Mask mandates may be lifted across much of the country, but many hospitals and doctors' offices still ask that patients and visitors wear them—especially with COVID cases on the rise. "A mask is just about keeping yourself safe, keeping your family members safe, keeping your loved ones safe and keeping our community safe," says Meena Davuluri, MD, MPH, a urologist and health outcomes fellow at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. "That's really what the mask is all about. It's not impinging on anyone's freedom or their rights. The only thing we really know is the best way to prevent this disease is by wearing a mask."


Don't Be Aggressive

Aggressive man yelling at nurse in clinic

Having a bad day? It happens to everyone, but don't take it out on healthcare workers—no matter how frustrated you might get. "Physicians are accustomed to dealing with patients at their most vulnerable, and manage emotionally charged patient encounters with compassion and understanding," says Colleen Grady, Assistant Professor, Family Medicine, Queen's University, Ontario. "They are trained to take each individual situation into account. However, workplace intimidation and violence must be considered occupational hazards for anyone working in a medical clinic."


Don't Just Demand Drugs

patient is angry on doctor because of medical error

While you should always feel comfortable discussing potential drugs or therapies with your doctor, demanding them is another matter. "Folks act as if they can come into the hospital and request any certain therapy they want or conversely decline any therapy that they want with the idea being that somehow they can pick and choose and direct their therapy and it doesn't work," says Jack Lyons, MD, MS, a physician at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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