For many international students, English is their second language. However, a language barrier should not prevent you from visiting a doctor. As a community of international students, ISO wants to make sure you are comfortable and prepared for going to a doctor. To overcome the difficulties of talking to a doctor, follow these useful tips to dress up your English and be able to speak up for yourself to get medical help.
Keep it Simple:
When communicating with nurses or doctors, use simple and direct words. The simpler the explanation, the better the chance is for your doctor to understand your sickness or injury. Regardless of how personal or embarrassing it may seem, a doctor needs to know what the situation is. It is important to remember that doctors do not judge you, they simply must understand your pain and symptoms in order to make sure you receive the proper treatment.
Write it Out:
Sometimes when we write out our thoughts, it gives us clarity on what we want to say. Before going to a doctor, write out what you’re feeling and when the pain started. If you have been sick for a little bit before visiting a doctor, try to document the past few days of how you were feeling. This will help you to explain to your doctor your symptoms and give them a better understanding of what is going on.
Scale Your Pain:
If you’re experiencing any pain, try to put it on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most painful. This can communicate to your doctor the intensity of your pain, allowing them to understand the situation and work towards making you more comfortable.
Point to where it hurts:
If you are having difficulties describing or getting your doctor to understand how you are feeling, physically show your doctor where you are experiencing pain by pointing to where it hurts. Once a doctor or nurse is directed to the area that needs attention, they can assist you.
Make it Relatable:
Do not be afraid to be blunt and honest with your doctor. Their job is to understand how you are feeling so they can help you. To help them understand, you can compare your pain to certain things. You can say things like “My stomach pain feels like I was being hit constantly” or “My leg feels like it weighs a ton whenever I try to move it.”
Going to the doctor can be a nerve-wracking experience for everyone but remember that a doctor’s job is to help you get better. Be prepared and be honest about how you are feeling so that you receive the best treatment available.