When I talk to patients about what it means to be healthy, the responses I receive are largely varied. For some people it means preventing illness and maintaining their current level of functioning, for others it means avoiding a hospital visit this month, quarter, or year.
Health goals vary greatly depending on the age of the patient as well. Adolescents have a much different view of health versus seniors. In order to truly meet and identify what your health goals are, it is important to meet with a practitioner who you trust and can form a strong relationship with. Finding a practitioner who understands your needs, your current health status, and where you see yourself advancing health wise, is essential to your overall wellness.
Tips for Choosing the Right Nurse Practitioner
- Take a moment to write down your health goals. Is is weight loss? Better nutrition? Decreasing medications such as blood pressure pills? Having increased mobility?
- Once you have identified your individual needs, start asking friends who they see and what they like about their nurse practitioner. Is it that they take the time to explain options? Do they call after hours with lab results? Think about what is most important for you with your relationship with a healthcare provider.
- Decide whether or not you are comfortable with alternative therapies or prefer a more traditional approach, or both. Some nurse practitioners heavily subscribe to alternative therapies, while even more stick with traditional medicine. Sometimes finding the right combination of the two is what a patient really desires. Not quick to prescribe antibiotics or chronic meds, but also wary of letting conditions get out of hand.
- Find a primary healthcare provider who you can speak open and honestly with. If you do not feel comfortable sharing everything with your provider then it is time to look for a new one. One of the riskiest health decisions you can make is to withhold health information from your primary care providers.
Remember, we are here to serve you and your healthcare needs, not to pass judgement on you. Make sure you keep looking until you find the right nurse practitioner and primary care provider for you!