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BellaOnline's African American Culture Editor

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Choosing The Right Healthcare Professional


It’s not often that I find myself having to go the doctor other than my yearly physical, mammogram or gynecological visit. It sometimes surprises me when I hear that some women have not been to see a doctor in years! And even more astonishing is the fact that many, in their forty’s, have never even had a mammogram. And their last gynecological visit was during and after pregnancy and birth of their child.

However, after my own experiences with finding the right doctor for me, I can relate to many women who just do not feel comfortable with their current healthcare professional. Or, who have trouble finding a physician that is a right fit for them and their medical coverage.

It still remains a huge problem within the African-American community when it comes to visiting a doctor, or having regular physicals; let alone breast and gynecological visits. Adding to this problem are the continued frustrations of finding the right doctor.

When I first moved to my new city, one of the things that I wanted to be certain was to get a doctor that I would feel comfortable with. Based upon referrals from a few family members, and with them accepting my kind of insurance, I was able to be seen by a doctor that had great references and a clean record practice wise. His staff and the other doctors and physician’s assistants were always professional, accommodating and helpful with any concerns I may have had.

What many of us don’t understand, however—especially as women—is that our needs in a physician can change, just as our bodies change over the years. And we must be able to find a physician that fits with our current needs, and perhaps even specializes in a field that we are in need of.

Many times, we continue on with healthcare professionals due to loyalty, familiarity, and comfort ability. This kind of thinking has caused many to bypass or miss certain medical treatments or diagnoses that could have been prevented or caught in enough time.

It really is okay to change healthcare professionals. Your first loyalty and priority is to yourself. Trust me; your doctor is making certain they are seeing who is best for them. So why wouldn’t you?

Over the years, the dynamics between my healthcare professional and myself changed drastically. I would follow his instructions, but I also knew that there was something else that was going on within me. I know my body. I know what I do on a daily basis. The doctor began to treat me as though I was not following his instructions. Yet, I was! And it turns out, it was not the treatment I needed. It only exacerbated what I was going through, causing mental anguish.

Ladies, understand your body. You should be so in tuned with your own body that you know immediately when something is not right. You will also know when it’s time to seek out a healthcare professional that will take the time to listen to your concerns.

For various reasons, as woman, while taking care of everyone else, we often put ourselves last. That is such the case with nurturers. You want to be certain that those around you are well, then you will see to your own needs. The problem with this is; that you never really get around to taking care of yourself. Before you know it, years have gone by before you have actually had a physical. You begin to self-diagnose and treat yourself—putting off for tomorrow for what should be done today.

It’s time to take charge of your health. It’s time to be proactive about your mental and physical well-being; choosing your healthcare professional; and keeping abreast of what needs to be done in your body to ensure that you are around to continue to help the people you love and care for.

After a year of searching, I found the right healthcare professional that was the perfect fit for my needs. And who also helped me take the right steps to ensuring a long and healthy life.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Ruthe McDonald. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Ruthe McDonald. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ruthe McDonald for details.

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