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Your Clinic Visit: For Immigrant Women
Learning about health care and seeing a health care provider in a new country can be difficult. Even if you can speak English well or have an interpreter it might be hard. You and your provider may have different words or ideas about health and illness. The steps you need to take to see your new provider may be different than in your native country. The following list may help you with your visit.
Before Your Visit
When you have made an appointment, ask the office staff:
Getting Ready for Your Visit
Make a list of questions or concerns.
At Your Visit
About Your provider
Western providers learn that it is important to understand more about the patient than the physical concerns or symptoms. They will probably ask you about your physical concerns and symptoms, but they may also ask you about how you feel and your mood.
They may also ask you some questions about your family and possible help they may provide. They may even ask you about your finances. They do not do this to pry. They want to make suggestions for your care that make sense medically. They also want the suggestions they make to be ones you could follow,and that are possible financially and culturally.
The more information you can share, the better prepared your provider will be.
When your provider makes suggestions, it is important that you feel these are explained so you can understand what she or he wants you to do and why the suggestion is made. It is fine and important to ask questions. Sometimes providers think they have explained, but you may not understand. Go ahead and ask questions!
Get Instructions from Your Provider
Make certain that your questions and concerns are mentioned and that your provider explains how she or he will approach your concerns
Know the Right Phone Number
When you schedule your visit or at registration, ask:
"Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People":
Office of Minority Health Resource Center:
The Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health:
The National Women's Health Information Center, Health Resources for
Sharon A Dobie, MD
Department of Family Medicine
University of Washington Medical Center
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