On my path to a thyroid cancer diagnosis I had encountered an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist who was interested in me as a surgical candidate and source of income much more than as an individual, unique patient. You can read more about my experience here – I refer to this specialist as ENT #1. Leaving that specialist’s office I felt completely dissatisfied and knew I wanted a second opinion.
When looking for my second specialist, I researched my choice of doctor a little more carefully. I live in a small town (population less than 10,000) so it’s easy to ask around and find out about doctors. Interestingly once I started asking about specialists, I found out that two different people in my office had experience with ENT #1 and neither of them had good things to report. I’d like to say I wish I’d asked around sooner, but I had learned some valuable lessons from ENT #1 that I obviously needed at the time – lessons that prepared me for ENT #2.
Several people gave good referrals for the specialist that would become my ENT #2. He had removed a close friend’s daughter’s tonsils and she raved about him. He was recommended by another friend who is a nurse. At my first appointment I was impressed too. As a new patient I completed the usual paperwork of insurance/contact information and my medical history, but there was something else in the packet that caught me by surprise: a resumé of ENT #2’s credentials. I don’t remember the details, but the document was impressive. He was Board certified, participated on Committee this and Board that, and showcased his credentials very well.
Beyond the document itself I was impressed with the very idea that a doctor would include their resumé with their new patient paperwork. It was the first time I had encountered this, and I thought it was brilliant. I think more doctors should do this. What impressed me the most was the idea that this specialist recognized the fact that I, as a new patient, did not know him and it might be helpful for me to know a little more about him before my first appointment. I felt as if he was recognizing that I had a choice of medical practitioners and it was important to him that I understand why I should choose him. Resumés are typically for job interviews, and it made me feel empowered that my doctor was acknowledging that I was choosing him from a pool of possible doctors.
One step better would be to provide the resumé ahead of time, and then you could research the doctor’s credentials on a website such as http://www.certificationmatters.org.
Do you think doctors should provide their resumés to new patients? Has your doctor ever provided one? I’d love to hear from you… please leave a comment.