Is Your Endocrinologist Really Listening To You?

11/28/18
WRITTEN BY: T'ara Smith, MS, Nutrition Education
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Living with Type 2 diabetes means seeing multiple specialists to help manage it. Though not required, people living with Type 2 diabetes may opt to see an endocrinologist to better manage living with it. An endocrinologist can conduct blood tests, prescribe and adjust medication, and provide nutrition advice.

Patient-provider communication is key in your diabetes management plan. Your endocrinologist needs to know as much as you’re able to say about how you’re managing Type 2 diabetes in your life. So, if you’re already are, how can you tell if your endocrinologist is listening to you? Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

    • Watch Your Endo’s Body language. Does your endo look you in the eye and seem engaged in the conversation by nodding or leaning forward?
    • Listen for Verbal cues. When you explain your concerns about your health, does your endo repeat them verbatim or paraphrase them to display understanding about your issues? Do they give verbal cues like “sure,” or “I see,” and ask clarifying questions?
    • Look for Empathy. This is one of the most important aspects of communicating with your endo or any health provider. Is the specialist empathetic to you and your situation? Your endo should show an effort to understand your perspective from a humane and personable standpoint — not just clinical.
    • Display of Partnership. You are the number one person on your healthcare team, therefore, any provider you choose to work with should treat you as a partner in your treatment plan — and not a subordinate. When you offer research-based suggestions to improve your diabetes management regimen, does your endo take them seriously or make you feel stupid for saying anything, anyway? If so, this is a display of apathy and a sign your doctor cares more about their way of treating you, than actually involving you in for how you want to be cared.

What Should I Do if my Endo Isn’t Listening to Me?

If you’ve asked yourself the questions above and the answers aren’t positive, then talk to your endo about the kind of communication you desire. If your endocrinologist is receptive, then start building or improving your relationship based on what you’ve discussed. Should your endocrinologist not be receptive, then it’s time to find a new endo. At that point, you may want to contact your primary care doctor for a referral or use your health insurance company’s website to find another endo who may be a better fit for you. You deserve to have the best healthcare team around you.

As someone who lives with Type 2 diabetes, finding a provider who hears your concerns about managing it daily is one thing. Finding a provider who actually listens to you and works with you to address them  is another. One of the critical aspects of meeting with specialists remembering you are an active player on your healthcare team. In fact, you are the main player, which means your voice is the most important. You should be able to trust your endocrinologist to at least take every concern and suggestion about your health seriously, even if they may seem trivial to them.


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T'ara Smith, MS, Nutrition Education

T’ara was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in July 2017 at the age of 25. Since her diagnosis, she focused her academic studies and career on diabetes awareness and living a full life with it. She’s excited to have joined the Beyond Type 1 team to continue her work. Outside the office, T’ara enjoys going to the movies, visiting parks with her dog, listening to BTS, and cooking awesome healthy meals. T’ara holds an MS in Nutrition Education from American University.