Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Finding Dr. Right: My Top Three Strategies for Getting the Most from Your First Physician’s Visit

Aug 04, 2016 03:35PM ● By Douglas J. Pucci, D.C., FAAIM

Your doctor sees a lot of patients in a given day. You need his (or her) help; you want to stand out and get the care you so desperately need. What do you do?

  1. Maximize Your Time Together

It’s your first appointment. You want to make a great impression and be sure the doctor is committed to your case. Do this by calling to receive your paperwork so that you can complete it ahead of time. Gather any additional records, including blood tests, hormone analyses, radiology reports, and so on, and send those in too. This is what we do in our clinic and it makes a difference.

By pulling together your records and returning these a day or two ahead of schedule, you allow the doctor time to review and prepare his notes so that he knows as much as possible about you. He will be able to make an initial assessment based on years of experience and clinical expertise. Being prepared means that he will know immediately where to look for clues.

  1. Tell Your Side of the Story

As you sit down to write your narrative, you want to begin with a simple exercise: List everything leading to what brought you here today. List your doctor's appointments, surgeries and hospitalizations, and when you developed your most pressing symptoms.

The doctor wants to get to know the details of your life, for sure.He wants to know what you’ve tried that did not work for you, and perhaps what did. He wants to know what medications you are taking and if you are experiencing side effects.

As you think about your timeline, you want to layer in any emotional blocks or deep personal wounds that could be detrimental to your health. Sometimes it’s no accident that your first trip to the doctor ten years ago came just after your second child left home, and that in addition to the empty nest, you started to develop sleepless nights.

  1. Prepare Yourself for What’s Next

You have a list of pressing questions that start with “I take black cohosh, is that okay?” and end with “Do you think I’m crazy? My other doctor said I was nuts!” Rest assured the doctor is going to emphatically answer no to that last question.

The distance between these two questions is what’s important. It helps to write down your talking points because even though the doctor’s main goal is to listen, really listen, to what you have to say, his mind is working immediately to piece this together. There is a framework, a clinical picture in his mind that filters out the nonessential from the truly significant.

That’s your goal, right? To figure out what’s really going on! So go ahead and dazzle the doctor with all you are thinking on the problem, everything you’ve tried, all the research you’ve put into this, all the years of pain and anguish you’ve suffered.Just start at the beginning and then move on to the next question. There’s a lot of material to cover.

Douglas J. Pucci, D.C., FAAIM, regularly offers in-office seminars presenting the latest science and clinical data on neurotoxic illness, hormone disruptions, and chronic disease. He provides nutrition, comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, brain and body care, and more. For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit

Digital Edition
What's Next!


Learn More About Natural Awakenings
Global Brief
Health Brief
Newsletter Sign Up


* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )