Getting a routine physical is one of the best ways to stay proactive about your health. During a physical, the doctor can diagnose and treat small problems before they escalate and give you appropriate tips about living a healthy lifestyle. Though it’s natural to be nervous before getting your first physical, try to relax by preparing beforehand with these five tips.
1. Look at Your Insurance Benefits
Call your insurance company before setting up an appointment. Ask if routine physicals are covered, how often you are allowed to get them (once a calendar year or every 12 months) and if the practitioner you want to visit is an approved provider. Clearing things with the insurance company and verifying your benefits before your appointment can save you the hassle of dealing with it in the waiting room.
2. Make an Appointment with the Appropriate Practitioner
After determining your benefits, make an appointment with the appropriate practitioner. This could be a general internal medicine physician, a family physician, a pediatrician for those under the age of 18, a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. If you need the physical for work or school, make sure you call weeks before your physical is due as practitioners often only do a few physicals a day to make room for same-day sick visits in their schedule.
3. Write It Down
It can be nerve-wracking to be in the doctor’s office, so take the time ahead of your appointment to write all of your necessary information down. This will include any questions or concerns you have about your health, a detailed list of medications you are currently taking and your family’s health history. Take your notes with you to your appointment so you are prepared to answer any questions that are asked.
4. Be Prepared to Get Personal
The nurse will need to ask you a variety of questions that may feel very personal, such as questions about sexual activity, recreational drug use, alcohol or tobacco use. The nurse, many who have become certified with online RN to MSN programs, will write down these responses and give them to the doctor who will use them to gauge your overall health and make recommendations to help you live healthier. Be honest and open in order to receive appropriate care.
5. Wear Comfortable Clothing
The doctor will be listening to your heart and lungs, looking over your skin for suspicious moles and feeling various parts of your body for abnormalities. Comfortable clothing can make the process easier for both you and your practitioner.
Getting your first physical is the best way to take charge of your own health and live a strong, active life. Take a deep breath and use these five tips to prepare for your physical. Remember to be confident with yourself and ask questions throughout the procedure.