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Finding your trusted healthcare professional

Finding your trusted healthcare professional

Your health is a crucial factor in your wellbeing and happiness. And finding a healthcare professional that you feel comfortable with - one that really ‘gets you’ - is critical to how you handle your health and address issues when they arise.

Lifestyle insight


How to find the right healthcare professional for you 

Your health is a crucial factor in your wellbeing and happiness. And finding a healthcare professional that you feel comfortable with - one that really ‘gets you’ -  is critical to how you handle your health and address issues when they arise.  

Most of us visit a healthcare professional at least once a year, if not more, and beyond treating a particular ailment these visits provide an important opportunity to ‘check-in’ on our health and ensure we are doing the best we can to keep ourselves fit and healthy. Learn more about Why visiting your GP or natural therapist is key  

What to look for in your healthcare professional

Everyone is different. Just as in life – whether it’s at work, in school or college – there are people we get on really well with, and then those we just don’t click with. It’s the same with your doctor. So don’t write off an entire profession if you’ve had one bad experience. There are plenty of great healthcare professionals that will understand your specific needs. 

Health can be a very personal and sensitive topic, so it’s key that you feel relaxed and are able to talk to you doctor easily. Start by thinking about what’s important to you. Do you prefer a doctor who is sensitive or straight to the point? Do you like to consider natural remedies and lifestyle changes? How far are you willing to travel, and do you need to be able to access them from work? What are the opening hours? Do you often need to visit in the evening or on a weekend? Create a list of what’s important to you. 

Locating a great healthcare professional

Looking online is a good starting point for finding out what’s nearby. There may be several practices within your local area – depending on whether you live in an urban or rural area.  By visiting the websites of different practices, you will be able to find out important information such as opening hours, and the particular specialisms offered by the clinic, for example, integrative medicine or naturopathy. Some clinics allow you to make appointments online, while others may also offer a mix of in-person and online consultations for convenience.   

Talking to friends and family about their experiences with healthcare professionals and gaining recommendations from people you trust can also be helpful. But remember, what they look for in a health practitioner might differ from you. You can also search for online reviews to gain personal perspectives on the approach of different doctors and practices. 

Different types of healthcare professional

GPs are the first port of call for general health conditions but sometimes you may need to find a specialist that deals with a particular area of medicine. For example, dermatologists (skin specialists), gynaecologists (women’s health), dieticians (nutrition and diet) and naturopaths (natural and herbal medicine). Often your GP will help to refer you and provide recommendations of practitioners they’ve worked with in the past, but sometimes you may need to do additional research to find the right specialist for you. 

Websites of professional associations provide listings of qualified practitioners in particular specialisms, for example ATMS (Australian Traditional Medicine Society), and NHAA (Naturopaths & Herbalists Association of Australia). 

Visiting a new healthcare professional

If you are visiting a new health professional for the first time, make sure you have all the information you need to be able to discuss your medical history and current medications. For example, new clinic patients will often be offered a general health check, which may include routine tests such as blood pressure, weight, sexual health checks and blood tests. This can be a great opportunity to become more aware of your health and take action to improve any areas that may be lacking. 

Most importantly, it can be a good chance to cement a relationship with your new health practitioner. Ensure you are upfront about any concerns and be honest about what you are looking for. 

Sticking with your healthcare professional

Understandably, sometimes you may not be able to get an appointment with your preferred healthcare professional. While it makes sense to continue discussing a particular issue with one doctor, if your visit concerns a separate ailment, it can be a good chance to get to know another health professional at your clinic and allow you greater choice and availability when booking appointments. 

Some health practitioners, particularly naturopaths or nutritionists, may recommend longer term protocols or treatments which can require ongoing check-ins to achieve optimal health outcomes. In these cases, it’s important to continue visiting your practitioner even when there may not be anything ‘wrong’, so they can help you maintain and evolve your health plan. 

References available on request

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