Dodging the Receptionist: Tips for Talking to Your Doctor
Many doctor's offices are now set up so that the receptionist will try
to screen calls to the doctor to determine which ones must be
taken by the doctor and which ones can be taken by someone else
such as the receptionist or the nurse. At times, the receptionist will
insist on knowing what it is that you need to talk to the doctor
about. Most women correctly feel that they should not have to
discuss their private problems with the receptionist.
Strategies for Dodging the Receptionist
If the receptionist will not let you speak to the doctor right away,
ask to speak to the nurse. Many times, the nurse will be able to
give you the information that you need. When you speak to the
nurse, ask for written information about your question. Sometimes
they may even have videos or online resources for you to check
Another good strategy is to call first thing in the morning when the
office opens. Most doctors have specific times set aside to return
patients' phone calls. If you are having trouble getting ahold of your
doctor, try to find out from the receptionist what time your doctor
usually returns calls. Make sure to be available at that time. You
can also tell the receptionist when you will be available to speak to
the doctor, and then make sure that you are by the phone at that
time. This is sort of like making a "phone appointment." Some
doctors may even have an email address. If so, use it!
If you are making an appointment and you know that you will have
several things to discuss with your doctor, ask the receptionist for
an extended, or double, appointment. If the receptionist insists on
knowing what it is that you need to talk to the doctor about, just tell
her that it is confidential and you only want to speak to your doctor.
Be firm. If the receptionist continues to pester you for more
information, make sure to mention this to your doctor the next time
you speak to him or her.