Guest Opinion: How to get your doctor to listen to your concerns


By Dr. Jorge Rubal

Dear Susi Q: I feel like my concerns are dismissed by my doctor as just old age. How do I get him to listen to me?

-Feeling ignored

Dr. Jorge Rubal, MD, MBA, CEO/CMO Laguna Beach Community Clinic, in partnership with the Susi Q, responds: 

Dear Feeling Ignored: When visiting a physician, it is essential that the patient feels heard and understood. Effective communication is key to building trust and establishing a good working relationship between the physician and the patient. Here are some tips on how to approach your physician to help you feel heard:

Be prepared: Before visiting your physician, take some time to prepare a list of questions or concerns you want to discuss. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you cover all the important topics during your appointment. Understand that all your concerns may not be addressed in one visit so prioritize your top two “need to know” items.

-Be honest: Honesty is crucial when discussing your health with your physician. It is important to be open and truthful about your symptoms, medical history and any lifestyle factors affecting your health. This will help your physician make an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

-Be clear: When describing your symptoms or concerns, be as clear and specific as possible. Use descriptive language to help your physician understand what you are experiencing. Avoid using medical jargon. Ask your physician to explain it in simpler terms if you are unsure about something.

-Be respectful: Respect is essential when communicating with your physician. Listen carefully to their advice and ask questions if you need clarification. Avoid interrupting or talking over your physician and try to stay calm and focused during your appointment.

-Be collaborative: Healthcare is a collaborative process, and you are an important part of your healthcare team. Work with your physician to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle. Be willing to change your habits or routines to support your health goals.

If you have specific articles you have read or treatment that you have heard about, bring the information. Ask the physician their thoughts and if they would consider this part of your treatment plan.

-Bring support: If communicating is challenging or you are feeling fearful, bring your caregiver, a close family member or a friend who can help share your health history or concerns.

In conclusion, effective communication is key to building a strong relationship with your physician. Being prepared, honest, clear, respectful and collaborative makes you feel heard and understood during your appointments. These points will help you get the care and support you need to stay healthy and active.

“Dear Susi Q,” brought to you by the nonprofit Laguna Beach Seniors, is intended to provide readers with helpful advice on relationships, retirement, home safety, transportation, mental/physical health, and local entertainment and educational resources. It’s “Dear Abby” for the Laguna Beach crowd.

Qualified staff, support group leaders, and volunteers stand ready to answer your questions, so please send them to [email protected]. We can’t wait to help.

No identifying names will ever be used. Some questions, such as today’s, may be a composite of several submitted. 

For more information about Susi Q and Laguna Beach Seniors, visit

Share this:


  1. Excellent article. Giving responsibility to both the doctor and patient to assure that the appointment is a success.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here