Thompson Rivers University

How to prepare for a doctor’s appointment

October 23, 2023

Visiting a doctor can be an overwhelming experience. If you’re feeling rushed, nervous, intimidated or embarrassed, you might leave the appointment feeling like you didn’t get what you need.  Preparing for your appointment can lessen anticipatory anxiety; it also ensures that your care provider receives all relevant information so they can recommend appropriate treatment. 

Outline your top concerns 

Writing down a list of questions can pave the way for clear communication between you and the provider. Some clinics only make appointments for one concern at a time; ask the medical office assistant what their policy is. Gather your thoughts with this easy to use planning form. 

Doctor’s Visit Planner

Include a list of your symptoms (and don’t be shy)

If you are experiencing pain or noticing changes in your body, the doctor needs to know about it! Try to be as specific as possible and include when the symptom began, how often it occurs, if you’ve ever experienced it before, what helps relieve the symptoms and what makes them worse. Tracking patterns and triggers can be helpful, and communicating your symptoms’ severity, frequency and duration can inform your provider’s recommended treatment. 

Come prepared 

The doctor might ask you what medications you are taking or if you have any previous or ongoing health conditions. Keeping track of medication names can be confusing, so take a picture of your prescription bottles or bring them with you. If you experience any chronic (ongoing, long-term) health conditions, note them and any treatments you are currently undergoing. 

Be honest and open 

Doctors and health-care providers are used to asking people for *extremely* personal information. Don’t be afraid to share information that may feel embarrassing; your doctor is there to help, not judge (and also, it’s guaranteed that they’ve seen and heard it all!)

Offer your suggestions and reflections

If you have ideas on what might help, diagnostic tests you’d like to explore or what condition you might be experiencing, let your doctor know. The doctor can help guide you on what diagnostics are medically indicated or whether your symptoms match up with a possible diagnosis. 

Even though visiting the doctor can be overwhelming, being proactive and planning what you want to discuss during the appointment can help alleviate some anxiety. Your health is important, and being an active participant in your care is vital. 

The TRU Medical Clinic services registered students who require medical support during their studies in Kamloops. Three physicians fill the full-time position on a rotating basis, with the support of a medical office assistant. 

The clinic provides a full range of medical services:

  • allergy injections
  • cold/flu/illness care
  • physical exams (work and sports medicals as required)
  • prescriptions and medication management
  • minor procedures: ears syringing, suture removal
  • birth control education and prescribing
  • sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment
  • immunizations
  • pregnancy testing
  • pap smear

All matters are strictly confidential. Health Services retains medical documentation in a secure and confidential manner. To book your appointment, or to access medical records, please contact the medical office assistant at

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