Making the Most of Your Relationship with your Healthcare Team

Another key relationship to manage is the one you have with different members of your healthcare team.

People with diabetes can sometimes find appointments tricky, due to feeling misunderstood, feeling rushed in relatively short appointments (e.g. “How can I possibly fit everything I need to think about into 15 minutes with my consultant?!) and /or feeling that they should only really talk about the medical/physical side of diabetes.

Many people fear the scrutiny that can come with appointments, and end up feeling as if they are being criticised. Some of the traditional language around diabetes care can itself be tricky, with phrases like “diabetes control” (– as if it is possible to completely control it) and focus on “test” results, for example.

Equally, healthcare professionals can also experience challenges. They can sometimes struggle to really know how to get alongside and truly help with what may be bothering you; they can also feel rushed in relatively short appointments (e.g. “How can I possibly genuinely ask about all the things that are important to this person in just 15 minutes?!”), and can experience a lot of pressure to be the perfect “expert” and have all the answers.

Click on the items below for a few ideas for making the most of your appointment (as suggested by the British psychologist Jen Nash, 2013):

Think back over the past few weeks and decide what are the three key things you most need to talk about. You might want to jot down some key points that you can take into your appointment with you.
Do your best to find confidence in what you need to talk about – after all, you are the expert on yourself and your experiences.

The previous step of planning will hopefully help you to keep things clear and to the point – you don’t want to waste precious time over-explaining or going off on tangents if you can help it.
You’ve both got so much experience and expertise: You are the expert in you, you know inside out what it is like to live day to day with diabetes and about your own unique responses (body and mind) to certain situations. The diabetes professional has lots of specialist medical knowledge and experience.

By putting these two areas of experience and expertise together you can work to find the best way forward in managing your diabetes.

Think of yourself as sitting side by side with them, like co-pilots as you navigate your way through diabetes on this long journey.

Go to ‘Diabetes and your relationship with others’ to return to the main topic page, or choose another section.

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