5 Ways To Come Across As Assertive (And Rock Your Medical Appointments)

Be More Assertive For Your Medical Appointments

GP appointments, specialist consultations and hospital visits. Prime time for anxiety to strike, to get tongue-tied and to forget that you’re an active participant in the proceedings. So here are 5 ways to come across as being more assertive…

… even if you don’t feel it.

1.  Be Concise

Appointments have a time limit, as does the average attention span. Sketch out what you want to say and in what order beforehand. Stick to the point, keep it short and sweet to avoid rambling, and avoid ambiguity. Be prepared so that you can make the most of your medical appointment – you can find more tips here.

2.  Focus On Your Breathing

It’s easy to be out of breath when you’re worked up and anxious, especially if you’ve been waiting a while for this conversation.

Pay attention to how you’re breathing. Start by taking a few ‘belly breaths’,and notice how your body feels. Are you tense and rigid, or jittery? Relax your muscles, starting from your toes and working your way up. Change the position of your legs and feet; sit back on the chair rather than on the edge, roll your shoulders back, stretch your fingers and relax your hands.

After a few deep breaths, try to keep your breathing slow and steady, in through your nose and out through your mouth. This should also help to keep your tone level whilst you’re speaking, which is important if you find it raising in frustration! Be concise

3. Remember : The GP or Specialist Is Only Human, As Are You

Both parties deserve to be listened to, to be spoken to in a respectful manner. They may not have all of the answers, but they have a job to do and you have the right to be there, to raise your concerns and ask your questions without feeling intimidated or rushed. Aim to leave the appointment with some form of resolution or an avenue to explore, and feeling that you have been heard and taken seriously. Don’t forget : You are an active participant. 

4.  Body Language

Everyone knows the importance of posture, an open stance and eye contact, but it can be forgotten quickly under pressure. If it’s a face to face discussion, remember to dress and sit comfortably (not self-consciously tugging up your top or pulling your trouser legs down). Make eye contact and show that you have something important to say to them directly, not to the floor or the peeling paint on the walls.

5.  Consider Alternative Outcomes

It’s easy to be caught off guard by a question, response or comment that we’re not expecting. Run through some of the alternative scenarios and outcomes so that you don’t feel totally lost if they do arise.




  1. June 15, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    These are great tips!
    I’m terrible when it comes to appointments, I get so flustered and leave thinking “oh, I should have mentioned X, Y and Z.. ”
    Because it can take so long to actually get an appointment, I tend to write down what I’m going for and any questions that I may have, saves some time and having to wait for another appointment.
    I think I’m definitely in the few who actually prefers going to the dentist over the doctors, haha!

    • June 18, 2018 / 5:52 am

      I get the same way with feeling flustered, especially when feel pressured for time and you try to pack everything in concisely. Writing a list is a great way to help manage things & make you feel more confident and prepared. As much as I hate going to the doctors, I still think the dentist is worse! Thanks for sharing – have a great week 🙂

  2. June 15, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    Outstanding advice Caz! I’ve had excellent medical care over the years, and though most of it can be attributed to having good doctors, going in prepared and being assertive has definitely helped. I just always remember that nobody, even the best doctors, cares as much about your health as you do.

    • June 18, 2018 / 5:55 am

      I’m glad you’ve had some excellent medical care and good doctors, it’s always brilliant to hear that. And very true about caring about your own health the most, and that’s why we need to make sure we do what we can to help ourselves in that respect. Thank you so much for the comment, Terri! xx

  3. June 15, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    Fabulous tips. You need to be able to communicate effectively if you want to have a successful visit.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

    • June 18, 2018 / 5:56 am

      Communication is definitely important, and I think that every little helps when it comes to improving medical appointments and making sure you do whatever you can to help yourself when it comes to your own health. Thanks for the comment! =]

    • June 18, 2018 / 5:57 am

      Thank you very much, Kim, I really appreciate your support & I’m glad you liked the post! I hope you have a positive week ahead =]

  4. June 15, 2018 / 7:43 pm

    This can’t be said often enough, because it helps so much at doctor’s appointments.

    • June 18, 2018 / 5:58 am

      I’m glad you agree – thanks for the comment, Viola! 🙂

  5. June 15, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    Caz, you always have the absolute BEST advice!!!! It is because of you I have been able to handle doctor’s appointments SO much better!!!! You my dear gave me an incredible amount of strength and knowledge and I will always be SO thankful to you for that!!!!!

    • June 18, 2018 / 10:33 am

      I am so, so glad some of the tips I’ve given have helped you, that is fantastic! That’s what I wanted from my blog, to be able to help even one person in the smallest of ways. I’m very grateful for your support & thank you for the lovely comment! Keep rockin’ your doctor’s appointments!  ♥

  6. June 16, 2018 / 11:24 pm

    Excellent advice! Thank you!! I wish I had read this before I faced my own medical crises… You are amazing!

    • June 18, 2018 / 10:34 am

      Aw I’m so glad you found the advice to be good – I do hope it can help others (though I also wish I’d read posts like this from someone else years ago when I struggled with appointments and lack of assertiveness etc). Thank you for the wonderful comment – have a lovely week 🙂

  7. June 17, 2018 / 8:46 am

    Such valuable tips. Sadly, I got a letter today that my regular doctor who has been battling her own illness will not be coming back at all. It is official. I hope it does not mean anything bad. Maybe just to spend time with her little girl.
    Hope you’re doing well, Caz. Praying for you!
    I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. God loves you!

    • June 18, 2018 / 10:46 am

      I’m sorry to hear about your doctor. I do hope she’s able to focus on her health without the pressures of the job, and that it’s something she can treat and fight and make a recovery from. I saw your post on the Liebster & left you a comment (not sure whether it may have gone to the spam folder..?) Thank you so much, Gail – I hope you have a lovely week ahead 🙂

  8. June 17, 2018 / 11:52 am

    I’m really glad I read this post, I am the worst at over working myself at doctors appointments, thank you for putting this together x

    • June 18, 2018 / 10:48 am

      I really do hope it can be useful for you, that you can take something from it to help even just a little with your appointments (it’s so easy to get flustered & worked up over them, so you’re not alone there). Thank you for the lovely comment, Sophie =]

  9. June 19, 2018 / 7:16 pm

    Caz, this is such a great list! As you know, I was recently with my stepmother and her hospital visit. I realized very quickly that she needed an advocate because her messages weren’t being communicated or heard, which does impact the type of medical care one receives.

    • June 20, 2018 / 3:47 pm

      I definitely agree, and it’s wonderful that you were there to spot this so something could be done. I think it’s awful that patient care can be so hugely impacted by their own ability, or lack thereof, to be assertive and persistent. I wish your stepmother all the very best, and thank you for sharing 🙂

  10. Mishka
    June 20, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Great advice! They all run together after a while and I have a hard time speaking up because I’ve done a million times before, but it’s great advice to not give up and communicate as best as possible!

    • June 21, 2018 / 4:25 am

      Persistence can be really hard when you feel you’re always repeating yourself & having to fight to tell your story & to get the treatment you need. I’m glad you liked the post and thank you for the comment – have a good rest of the week, Mishka! 🙂

  11. July 9, 2018 / 12:53 am

    I still love this post, Probably one of my favorites. Sharing this on Fibro Bloggers, Friday share. We have to share one of our own posts and another bloggers post. I pick you!

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