Women interviewing healthcare providers to decide if they are responsible.

When not to settle: choosing the healthcare provider who is responsible

What’s on your wish list for an ideal healthcare provider? It’s a question some people never really ask themselves. While, certainly, most people may not have their choice of every provider under the sun, you don’t have to settle for working with someone who’s not a good fit for you. And there’s a lot you can do to ensure that you’re working with a provider who provides you with respectful, thoughtful, relevant, and safe care.

When choosing a healthcare provider, make sure they’re responsible and actually care about your health

At a bare minimum, you deserve to work with a healthcare provider who truly cares and takes responsibility for your health. What this looks like in practice is that the provider listens to your wishes, concerns, and preferences for care. It also means that they explain things plainly and honestly, and welcome your questions. They should encourage you to feel in control of your body and your care.

Do you feel comfortable around them?

Beyond this, ideally you can also work with a healthcare provider who makes you feel comfortable. When you’re being cared for by a provider who you’re not that comfortable with, it can present a number of challenges that can stand in the way of you getting quality care. This sort of discomfort can make it feel hard to communicate with your provider honestly or really feel heard. Some folks do find that thanking their provider for hearing their concerns can be a good place to start in expressing their wants and needs, so this can be a simple, meaningful tool to feel a bit more comfortable.

Don’t be afraid to seek personalized care

But to find someone who you’re really comfortable with, you may want to seek out even more personalized care and work with a provider who can offer you culturally relevant care.  This might mean that you prefer a provider who is from your community, shares your beliefs, or identifies the same way as you. Care that’s personalized in this way — where you feel like your provider really gets you, understands where you’re coming from, and who you feel truly comfortable being yourself with — can be incredibly meaningful. For example, if you’re Black, you may want to work with a Black care provider, if that’s possible. Black midwifery groups, Black doula groups, and other such organizations or community health groups exist to provide just this sort of care.

Keeping some of these things in mind can ensure that you find a healthcare provider who feels like a true partner in your care.

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