New Diagnosis? Five Questions to Ask Your Provider

Hearing a new diagnosis for the first time can catch you off guard. Taking the time to ask questions, gather information, and formulate a treatment plan are important steps to understanding how this new diagnosis will affect you. Here are five questions you should ask to help start your journey back to your optimal health.

What is the name of the disease or condition?

Have your provider write down your diagnosis. You’ll want them to be specific on the disease or condition they have diagnosed. This will help you understand it better, and allow you to research and discuss the diagnosis going forward. Remember, there are many layers in almost any diagnosis and you’ll need to know what is specific to you.

What is the initial treatment plan?

Some treatment plans can include something as simple as lifestyle changes or medication. Others can include testing, treatments, or even surgery. If the diagnosis is not life-threatening and does not need treatment to begin right away, take the time to research your options, including a second opinion.

If a new medication is part of the plan, ask about side effects or interactions with any current medications. Make certain you understand any instructions for taking the medications, and if there are concerns if you were to miss a dose.

Who will be involved with my care?

Most often your primary care provider will manage your care, but at times you may be referred to a specialist. Clarify who will be the point person to manage your care and all those involved in your care team. This could include doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, technicians, and therapists. It can also include specialists, oncologists, and surgeons. Know who you should reach out if you have questions, concerns, or to clarify treatment plans.

What resources do I have?

You’ll probably have more questions after you leave your appointment. Find out who you can reach out to via phone or email at your provider’s office. There may be support groups that you can reach out to. When researching online, please proceed with caution. There are many websites with misleading information – ask your provider which websites would be the best resource for your diagosis.

When do I follow up next?

Before you leave your appointment, find out the next time you need to follow-up. Weeks? Three months? Six months? Yearly? As needed? Also, find out who to contact with concerns and what signs/symptoms warrant an immediate call to your provider. Know when you should go directly to the nearest hospital.

Take control of your own health and become an expert on your own diagnosis as you stay on top of your care. Knowledge is power, and when given a new diagnosis being to build your knowledge base and navigate your health journey.

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Nursing Decoded

Nursing decoded was created to share, educate, and collaborate with EVERYONE (patients, caregivers) and aspiring nurses, students, care technicians, nurses, APN's, and all medical providers. We have over 50 years of experience in medicine and have climbed the ladder through this amazing profession. Medicine and nursing is often complicated, exhilarating, exhausting, challenging, loving, and passionate. As Nurse Practitioners, we want to engage and educate people, patients and providers on how to decode, interpret, and navigate our healthcare world through the viewpoint of nursing. Our goal is to provide a consistent, easily accessible resource that clearly outlines, educates and informs on various topics of healthcare to help them interpret, decode and navigate their healthcare world.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Angela Sedlak | Mean Green Chef

    Definitely important questions to ask, it’s so important to stay informed. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Cindy

    It is so important to ask lots of questions of your providers.

  3. Liz

    A family member recently received a diagnosis that wasn’t very clear- thank you for this sound advice as we maneuver through these times.

  4. Debbie

    Hope I don’t need these any time soon, but great info!

  5. jen

    Very nice. You know they seem like common sense questions but it’s always amazing to me how common sense goes out the window when one is sitting in a doctors office. LOL I also think its of benefit to write the questions down before you go

  6. Holly Bird

    So important to ask the right questions so you don’t leave with more! Great tips and advice!

  7. Diane Kurzava

    Such good advice! I always think of more questions once I leave.

  8. Lisa Manderino

    These are great questions to ask and be prepared for.

  9. This is great advice to help you organize your thoughts after a new diagnosis. So often, it’s an emotional time, too. Thank you for providing this resource so we can be advocates for our own care.

  10. Tricia Snow

    I know my mother in law would freeze and forget to ask questions at the Dr. This is great to print out and bring along with you to help with keeping you on track! Thanks!

  11. jody

    Great tips thank you for sharing. It is true doctors are often not very forth coming of information terms that we all can understand.

  12. Maya

    Very informative & helpful post. Thanks for sharing

  13. Ramae Hamrin

    When I got a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, I was floored. Fortunately, my providers gave me all this information and more. Resources, especially financial, are huge!

  14. Sandi

    Great advice. Thank you.

  15. heather J jandrue

    This is why it is so important to have someone go with you. It can be so overwhelming.

    1. Nursing Decoded

      Agreed – second set of ears is always important. It’s always helpful to have someone take notes!

  16. Jennifer

    Good questions to work through

  17. Debbi H

    Very useful information, especially for doctor visits with my elderly Dad–very helpful to know what to ask the Doctor. Thank you!

  18. Adrienne Foxx

    This is great! Going to the dr is so overwhelming and I always come home not knowing what air probably should. This is super helpful!

  19. judean

    Taking control of your own health is so important. Several years ago, I realized that I couldn’t rely on the doctor’s office for many reasons (previously they were great at reminders and suggesting testing).

  20. Suzan | It’s My Sustainable Life

    So important to go to any medical appointment armed with the right information and questions.

  21. Sydney Delong

    This is a great “checklist”! I tend to forget what the doctor tells me, so having this list with me and writing it all down will be very helpful!

  22. KENDRA

    I love this. A new diagnosis can be overwhelming, so having these questions will be crucial to proper care. Thanks!

  23. Noelle

    These are great things for anyone to think about! Yes, I agree to always bring someone else along, as well as bring along a pen and paper to write things down, or even to write questions down before the appointment, so the patient remembers their questions.

  24. vanessa

    This is a timely article indeed! Many people just don’t know what questions to ask and often times, physicians give them the bare minimal of info. Keep up the good work!

  25. Michele

    Great questions that are all important. So many people leave there appointment with so many unanswered questions.

  26. Shannon

    Such simple questions but so important

  27. Cindy

    Great questions to ask! I definitely like being in charge of my own health.

  28. Lisa

    Great questions. It’s important for people to know what is going on with their bodies

  29. Annette Durbin

    Great tips for us to remember when we are stressed with a new illness or disease.

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