1) NEVER show up 15 minutes early for "paperwork".
I can't count the number of times i have been told to do this. At first i did it. i mean they wouldn't waste my time right? wrong. this is padding time to make up for the fact that they are behind schedule. they want you waiting for them. i have waited over an hour for doctors on a routine basis. i would rather not add another 15 minutes to my entertain the baby time. thanks anyway. if you show up on time, you will have plenty of time to fill out their papers since they will inevitably be behind schedule by at least 20 minutes.
2) the joke about "practicing" medicine is not funny.
i have heard this joke so many times it fills me with rage. no, it doesn't make me feel better to think you don't know what you are doing with my kid. i have obviously trusted you enough to invest my time into this visit so don't undermine yourself by making a joke about your skill level. I'll take that needle please, go do your stand up somewhere else.
3) be nice.
this can get you a long way. whether it's a faster appointment, a room with a TV, stickers, a medical form signed, or just someone to talk to while you wait, it can make the whole day go better.
4) if the above doesn't work, act like you think your kid is going to DIE.
not only are they concerned about your kid, they will want to shut you up. they don't want to appear to anyone else (especially other patients) like they don't care about a potentially dying kid. they also don't want to get sued (in case they really are dying). this one has really come in handy for me. granted on a few occasions she really seemed to be dying but still, this can work for everyone. i have found that doctors will try and brush you off initially, they are busy and i can only assume that they think if you really need their attention you will pitch a fit. so why not oblige. works wonders.
5) don't assume doctors are actually listening to what you are saying about your child.
this is really true if you are seeing a specialist that requires a referral. they already have a file on your kid. and the reason they have made you wait for an hour is because they have actually been reading it. good? no. when they do this they are making a treatment plan for you child. without actually talking to you or looking at them. if you are not careful they will come in and go on and on about how they want to treat you kid without finding out if anything in their little report has actually changed. surprise surprise, kids grow and change! shocker i know! i have had several doctors get up and walk out of the room while i was talking to them about changes that had occurred since the initial report. needless to say we haven't been back to them.
6) don't leave until you are ready.
it's like a table in a restaurant. they want to fill your room with another patron so they are going to try and get you out of there as quickly as they can. after above doctor left my room i waited. eventually a nurse comes and asks you if you need anything. you can get answers really fast this way. they want you gone so they will go directly to the doctor with your question. he will then immediately answer. baring any really involved questions. it's a great way to get in those last minutes questions with doctors who do the pop in pop out method of treatment.
7) make friends with your doctor's personal nurse.
all doctors have them and this is the person you need to know. they get the things done. they know where things are. don't make them mad.
8) be persistent.
when em was a newborn i was in the office every other day for two weeks. it was only after two weeks that the doctor figured out what was going on. don't get me wrong i LOVE that doctor but i knew something wasn't right even though everything seemed OK. eventually he saw it too.
9)find out how sick your kid needs to be to be seen that day.
sounds shady i know but if you have a sick kid but they aren't "this" sick then you wont get in. I'm sure those rules are there for a reason but sometimes kids are really sick without A B and C being wrong with them. i have never been told once i got there that we should not be there.
Edit: josh felt i needed to be more clear on this point. if you think your child is sick enough to need to be seen that day but the doctors office doesn't, LIE. usually a high fever and lethargy are enough.
10) Don't assume the doctor is using the best method of treatment for your little one.
doctors get into a routine with treatments. if a kid comes in with this then they do that. My child was not made in a factory. look at her and listen to me! question why what they think would work best for your child and not just that it works best for them.
11) leave the door open if you can.
they will close it for your privacy. that doesn't mean you can't open it. with it open they can't forget you are in there. well, I'm sure they haven't really forgotten. i just want to make sure they can hear me. this has really helped when em is getting to the end of her rope. if the nurses can't get the doctor to you they will usually offer some cool treat or toy not usually left in the room for your child to play with. it helps to have something to offer they have never seen before. plus it gets hot in there.
12) You can choose!
whether this is what medicine, doctors, nurses, therapists or hospitals your child goes to, you have the ultimate power. i know this probably sounds like common sense but it catches up with you. the reason you doctors recommends certain places to you is usually because they have an agreement NOT because it is best. " you send yours and I'll send mine." hand pick everything and everyone. if you don't like the nurse treating your child then ask for the nurse manager and request a change. if they tell you they are the only ones that can do it they are lying. most of the time people are very understanding about this but occasionally you will get someone who takes it personally. try them out and if you don't mesh then move on. it will be better for your child if they know you trust whoever is about to stick a needle in them.
13) don't be afraid to get a second opinion!
this is a big one. you run the risk of offending the first doctor, but if they are any good they will understand. it can never hurt to be told the same thing by another doctor but i can hurt to not ask. i figure i am speaking for my daughter so we both get a choice right?
14) If they do a good job tell them.
everyone likes praise. chances are they have been chewed out by someone that day so they would probably like to know if you are happy. send gifts or card on holidays. they are much more likely to help you out in the future if they know you appreciate it and aren't expecting it.
I would say that my medical experience has been about 60%-40% for good staff. the good ones are priceless though. they make all this seem less miserable. one day when i am rich i am going to just fly in which ever doctors, nurses, specialists and therapists i want. there really is so much more but i am quite frankly surprised i was able to sit down and type all this. it did take two sessions and em is "puke threatening" me in the background but still.