As a hospital, making sure every patient has a complete medical history on file is one of the most important pieces of information to have. That’s why your Primary Care Provider (PCP) or nurse may ask what feels like hundreds of questions. The only reason there are so many questions is to make sure all past medical history is documented. For example, something as small as using essential oils or taking a daily vitamin is something your doctor needs to be aware of.
Here is a list of things you should tell your PCP about, even if you received care from a different facility:
Any lab test results
Dentist and Eye exams
Over the counter medications
Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco use
Plus anything else the doctor or nurse may ask. They aren’t trying to be nosy- they’re just trying to piece together the puzzle that makes up a patient’s medical history. Greater Nebraska Medical and Surgical Services (GNMSS) Clinic Manager Joni Sautter BSN, RN, CRHCP says, “Having all of this information allows the process to go quicker and gives us the whole picture. With a complete medical history, doctors aren’t left wondering if the treatment they prescribed will interfere with anything else the patient is doing.”
Other important screenings and immunizations to be aware of and let your PCP know your status of are:
Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis aka whooping cough)
Pap smear/Cervical cancer
Although some of these topics may be uncomfortable to talk about, it is important that your PCP knows about any and all issues you may be having. They may find out you could benefit from an exam/immunization. It’s also helpful for them to know if you’ve already had an exam or immunization. Kendra Elford, RN at GNMSS says, “Sometimes a symptom the patient doesn’t think is important could be the key to why they are feeling the way that they do. Try not to be embarrassed. We need to know how you are truly feeling to get the whole picture.”
Here are some helpful questions you can ask your PCP about if you would like to understand their treatment better:
What does this mean?
How do I take this medication?
Why am I taking this medication?
What screenings or immunizations am I in need of?
Do I need any Lab work?
What is my main problem?
What do I need to do?
Why is it important for me to do this?
Included is a cutout of helpful information to stick on your fridge or keep in your wallet to serve as a reminder for the next time you have to visit the doc.
Box Butte General Hospital is an equal opportunity provider and employer.