6 Characteristics of a Great Rheumatologist

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Makes time for you

Though most doctors are busy, showing good bedside manner means they are fully focused on you when you're in the office. This means making eye contact, having good listening skills, and not making you feel rushed. This creates an environment of trust, which is essential to a good doctor patient relationship.

Is on your team

A good rheumatologist will subtly shift the decision-making role to you by providing you with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your treatment. A good doctor will also know when to back off and when to strongly recommend a specific treatment.

Is available

Though you will likely have regular appointments with your rheumatologist, if you start flaring, develop a side effect or for another reason need to speak to your doctor in between regular appointments, a good doctor will be available. That means to either return a phone call or fit you in for an appointment.

Is compassionate and resourceful

By showing warmth and concern, and creating an environment where you feel comfortable talking about your fears and frustrations. A good doctor will offer helpful tips and referrals, such as to a counselor or occupational therapist.

Has a sense of humor

Finding a doctor who is relaxed and human enough to bring humor into the consulting room (when appropriate) can go a long way towards creating an effective and trusting relationship between doctor and patient.

Don't be afraid to switch

If your first doctor doesn't meet your expectations don't be afraid to get a second opinion. If you live in an area where your options to see another rheumatologist are limited, it's possible to work on a better relationship with your current doctor. Good communication and respectfully sticking to your guns might be enough to forge a better relationship.