You’re a doctor We know you’re an expert in medicine.
We know you work hard to be helpful. We know that you care. We’re teens.
And we’re experts in being teens.
Which is why we’re talking to you. Because we want you to understand
our health means everything to us. And that sometimes going to the doctor can be hard. Even though we’re all different,
here are some guidelines you can follow
that will help us feel more like listening to you and help us feel like we have a voice in our health. We want to know our honesty will never be punished and no assumptions will be made. Be straightforward with us.
Confidentiality is key. Let us know how your policy works.
Show us where it’s posted. Clearly explain what you have to share
with our parents or guardians and what we can ask you not to share. We are each our own person
and we need to know we’re getting the
full version of what’s going on with our health. It might sound basic but be human.
Start from there to show us you care. This may be a simple question about our day or a random story about your drive to work.
Breaking the ice with us can be that easy. You don’t need to try to be our friend
and you don’t need to try to use our slang or make pop culture references to
relate. Just calling us by our preferred names
and remembering what we’re interested in can go a long way. And if you ever run late for an appointment
try to acknowledge our frustration and meet it with your patience And if we’re ever late to our appointment,
keep in mind we’re not always in control over our circumstances. Your patience with us is really
appreciated. Talk to us like adults but check in with us and make sure we understand the terminology causes and consequences.
Please help us understand our options but not too many. And if we don’t seem in the
mood to talk much please don’t push us. It’s not personal.
We might be struggling with some sensitive subjects. And sometimes it’s just tough being a teen. The last time I was at the doctor’s office
my mother was in the room every
time I would answer a question. and I had no idea what I could or
could not consent to and it made me feel like I had no control
over what’s happening to me or my health care or my own body. It would have helped if the doctor
had asked my mother to leave if I’d been able to talk to him
one-on-one and if he had some sort of poster or pamphlet
or just told me verbally what I was allowed to say knowing that it would not get back to my
parents and what he would have to tell her. I’ve gone to the same doctor my entire life and personally know them and there’ve been instances where when they’re
asking us like questions when we get our physicals like
do you smoke do you have sex and because they personally know
us they just assume that we don’t do any of that. and they just assume “like, oh you don’t
have sex or you don’t smoke” and just makes us feel like less comfortable to tell them the
truth. When I was younger I was suspended from school for a temper flair you could say My mom decided she’s going to take me to my
doctor and she treated me as if I were a child who
had no concept of right or wrong and it just did
not make me feel like I was understood. And I needed that
understanding, I didn’t need a lecture. We don’t speak for all teens but we do
believe that you can follow these fundamentals to help treat us with better care.
To help us see how you care no matter how different we are. Be straight forward. Be human. Confidentiality is key. Check in
with us. Talk to us like adults. Give us options.
Keep us in the loop. It’s our body, our life.

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Methew Wade

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