Pop Quiz: Are you a ‘good’ patient?

Find Out if You Make the Grade, and Learn Some Tips along the Way

It’s not easy being hurt, sick or suffering from a long-term disease or condition, but achieving optimal health can be even more elusive if you believe in the erroneous Good Patient Syndrome.  With this syndrome, you may think it’s bad manners to question your doctor, to show pain or discomfort or to seem to rock the medical boat in any way. The truth of the matter is that such a viewpoint conflicts with communicating effectively with your doctor and other healthcare providers. Your doctor cares about getting you healthy, and that requires knowing the good, the bad, and the ugly! Take our quiz to find out if you are really a “good” patient, and learn some tips along the way.

1) What is the best path to truly being a good patient?

  1. Presenting your doctor with a charming, happy patient
  2. Fully communicating your feelings, questions, and symptoms to your doctor and medical team
  3. “Sucking it up” so as not to be annoying or a burden to your doctor
  4. Finding care or medications in alternate ways so as not to bother your doctor

2) True or False?  A good patient never questions mistakes or whines about feeling ill or in pain.

3) Which of the following should you always share with your medical team?

  1. Any pain or discomfort you are in
  2. Concerns about your care
  3. Questions about your prescriptions
  4. Any new or seemingly irrelevant symptoms
  5. All of the Above

4) What is the flawed thinking behind the “Good Patient Syndrome”

  1. One should display good manners at all times
  2. Positive thinking equates to positive health
  3. Your healthcare providers will give you a lower quality of care if they find you annoying, bothersome or difficult
  4. None of the Above

5) In terms of prescriptions, a good patient always does which of the following?

  1. Uses a method to ensure all medications are taken every day and on time
  2. Never orders or takes medications without a prescription
  3. Asks his or her doctor before taking vitamins or minerals
  4. Uses the advice and expertise of the pharmacist to identify drug interactions, cheaper generics, etc.
  5. All of the Above

6) As a good patient, which of the following are methods you can use to ensure you share all questions and concerns with your doctor and medical team?

  1. Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor and for testing
  2. Write down every issue when you experience it, and then bring the list to your appointments to address each
  3. Utilize a ‘symptom tracker’ or other online tool to track your condition and concerns
  4. Understand your goals of treatment and their timeline
  5. All of the Above

Resources: Information provided by the American Stroke Association (ASA), in an excerpt from Stroke Connection Magazine, and the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation.


Answer 1: B) Fully communicating with your doctor and medical team. Your doctor needs all the facts in order to adequately treat you.

Answer 2: False. According to the Lupus Foundation, you are your best advocate when it comes to your health, so your doctor and medical team need to be made aware of any questions, concerns or ideas you have.

Answer 3: E) All of the Above. Your input is very important in your medical care, so don’t hesitate to examine diagnoses and decisions, ask questions, and to speak up when uncomfortable or in pain.

Answer 4: C) Your healthcare providers will give a lower quality of care if they find you annoying, bothersome or difficult. According to the Lupus Foundation, quality of care can actually go down when you hide or lie about your true symptoms, feelings or current condition; those issues can’t be properly treated or addressed if they aren’t communicated to your healthcare team.

Answer 5: E) All of the Above. According to the ASA, managing prescriptions is a prime example of an area where patients can really get involved in managing their own healthcare.

Answer 6: E) All of the Above. Good patients use one or more of these methods to ensure they address every issue, question and concern with their healthcare providers.



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