I'm new to this area, so how should I choose a physician? Though I am
not ill at present, I feel I should take my health more seriously.
Too few men, men who would scrutinize a bank or business prospect
rigorously, take the same trouble over selecting their main link to
the world of medical care, their personal physician. So your question
is one we should all pause over.
First, you could ask the men amongst your colleagues and neighbors
about the local doctors. A hearty recommendation is a good start.
Check out the hospitals -- do they carry men's health-related posters?
Is there a well men's clinic? Ask to speak to a doctor in the
practice, especially if you can identify one with a special interest
in men's health.
Though I'll use the male pronoun here, some men will
prefer a woman physician. It's what you're comfortable with that
matters here! It's a time to check out his approachability; you're
the client, remember.
Arrange to see him during a quiet time of the day, so he won't be
rushed. If you're asked some searching questions, and the doc looks
you in the eye and you feel relaxed, its signals a good future
Get to know your doctor BEFORE you need that middle of
the night call-out! Do you feel free to raise issues that are
troubling you? If you feel tense, ask yourself if it's him or you.
Don't be afraid to express your fears and worries, they are an
important source of the history your doctor will base his assessment
If you have a particular need, voice it early. For example, you may
need a doctor who is gay-friendly or has specialist skills, such as
sports injury. You may be a lone parent in a new area, seeking a
doctor for your children too, but recognize that their needs may be
better met by a different partner in the same practice.
A man's physician is also his counsellor. Bear this in mind as you
select a doctor who will treat you as a whole man, mind, body and
spirit. Give him a chance, but if it doesn't work out, don't be afraid
to courteously change physicians.
Trevor Harvey, M.Ed combines lecturing in the
School of Health at the University of East Anglia, with writing and counselling,
and is based in Norwich, England. After a 12 year naval career, including the
Falklands War, he became editorial board member/series advisor with The British
Journal of Health Care Management and founder of the men's group AMICUS. He
focused on health-related men's issues, particularly the way men negotiate personal
transition through relationship crises, and is currently studying the management
of information overload. Whenever possible, he combines his passion for photography
with hill walking, and piloting his boat on the local lakes and rivers of eastern