Asking Questions

In order to ask valuable questions and get the information you need to understand the process you are going through, it helps to become a well-informed consumer. You have every right to ask questions, however sometimes health professionals are under enormous time pressure, so it's ideal to prepare your questions before each appointment. It can also help to have a friend or family member with you at appointments to take notes and help you formulate questions based on the information you receive each appointment.

Use the right language. All health professionals are experts in their fields and that means they have a very specific language. It's always fine to ask your questions in lay person's terms, and ask them to explain any jargon or terms you don't understand. One way to find common ground in language is to ask about evidence. Health professionals work in an 'evidence-based' model, which means they are making clinical decisions guided by years of experience coupled with the latest evidence from peer reviewed academic journals. You can keep them working optimally for you by asking about the evidence that informs their clinical decisions. Research shows that newer graduates are more up to date with current evidence, so ask your practitioners, no matter how authoritative they appear, to support their decisions using up to date evidence. If they aren't able to do this, you are always free to seek another opinion. Your intuition and the therapeutic relationships are important, but that's probably not the language most health professionals are speaking, so try to bridge the gap so your concerns and questions can be understood and addressed.