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Waiting room wisdom: navigating doctor’s office dos and don’ts

Whether you’re a first-time patient or a regular visitor, understanding the unspoken rules of medical etiquette can make your appointment smoother and more comfortable for everyone involved.

Tryon Medical Partners staff weigh in with the essential dos and don’ts of doctor’s office conduct, to help your next medical visit be as stress-free and productive as possible.

Before you arrive at the doctor’s office:


  • Know your history. If you are coming to the office with specific symptoms, try to track the frequency and experience of those symptoms before the appointment and bring that information. This will help our team get to the bottom of what you’re experiencing quicker. If you’re new to a practice, write down the last time you had a screening. It’s important for us to know the last time you had an endoscopy, pap smear, mammogram, and bone density scan, so that we can provide the screenings you’re due for. 
  • Come with questions. Writing down any questions you have for your healthcare team before coming to the appointment will help guide the appointment and ensure you get the support and care you need. 
  • Pack your medications. To provide the best care possible, we need to know which medications you take now and which you have taken recently. Although writing down your medications is helpful, bringing them with you is the best way to ensure we have the information that we need.

“In addition to medications, your pre-appointment checklist should include insurance cards, photo ID, and a co-pay if you need it.” 


  • Arrive late. Arriving late will make you feel more harried, and could decrease the amount of time you have to see your healthcare team. We want to provide as much time in the appointment as possible, so try to be punctual to get the facetime you need. 
  • Wait to check in. When possible, complete online check-in before the appointment. You can even check in from home. This will save valuable time in the office and allows for more meaningful time with your clinician in the exam room, with paperwork and health history out of the way. 

In the waiting room:


  • Be respectful to administrative staff. Being respectful to the front office staff will support the smoothest and most efficient office experience. Often, due to unforeseen circumstances, clinicians fall behind schedule. Unfortunately, front office staff can do very little to speed up the process. 
  • Take a look around. While you might be tempted to catch up on email while you wait, Tryon clinicians recommend taking a look around the office. There are a lot of important notices posted throughout the clinic designed to help keep you informed. 

“We try to use patient interaction in the office as an opportunity to communicate on important health matters,” says Kendall Lowe, Director of Value Based Care Solutions at Tryon. 


  • Skip the babysitter. Although it may not always be possible to find childcare for your appointment, bringing more than two children under the age of 3 can make it difficult to truly focus on the medical concerns you’re coming in with. 
  • Make the waiting room your office. Tryon team members work hard to set a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in the waiting room. Although it is often tempting to keep working on your laptop or phone while you wait, video or phone calls without headphones can disrupt the experience of other patients and caregivers. 

During your appointment:


  • Ask questions. We want to make sure that you get all of the information you need during your appointment. Although the appointment may be short, try to think of any questions you have so you can get helpful, comprehensive answers while you’re in the office. 
  • Avoid distractions. With the exception of emergencies, answering calls or texts in the middle of your appointment will only distract you and your clinician. It could also cut into your appointment time, and we want to make sure you receive quality care.

“We know it can be hard to fully avoid being on your phone, especially if you’re a parent,” Hunter Glasgow, PA-C points out. “But your appointment will be more successful with everyone present.”


  • Hide anything. Sometimes certain topics can be awkward to discuss with your clinician. But remember, we’re trained professionals who have heard it all before. The more information we have, the better job we can provide in treating you. 

Tryon team partners want to make any experience you have at the doctor’s office as comfortable as possible. With these new tips in your back pocket, reach out to Tryon today to schedule an appointment.