How to Prepare for Your First Visit to a New Doctor

What to expect when you see a new doctor

Finding the right primary care physician is essential for maintaining good health. However, seeing a new doctor for the first time can be a little nerve-wracking. With a little preparation, you can make the most of your first appointment. Here are some tips to help you get ready.

Gather your medical records

Before your appointment, it’s important to gather all of your past medical history. This includes information such as test dates, immunization records, surgical records, allergies, past healthcare providers, and prescriptions. By having this information readily available, you can ensure that your doctor gets an accurate understanding of your medical background.

Take stock of additional information about your health history

In addition to your medical records, there may be other important information that is not documented. If possible, ask your close family members about any relevant hereditary conditions. It’s also crucial to take note of any recent symptoms or changes in your health. Headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, and other symptoms should be communicated to your new doctor.

Prepare a list of questions

Before your appointment, take the time to write down any questions or concerns you have. This will ensure that you cover everything you want to discuss during your visit. Mentioning your reason for the appointment when booking can help prioritize your concerns and ensure that you have enough time to address them.

Consider bringing a friend

Seeing a new doctor can be intimidating, so consider bringing a friend or family member with you. They can provide support, advocate on your behalf, and help remember any questions you may forget.

Be early

Arriving early to your appointment is important for several reasons. First, it shows respect for the doctor’s time. Second, there may be new patient forms to fill out, so arriving early ensures that you have enough time to complete them. Lastly, being early may allow your doctor to see you sooner than expected, reducing your wait time. Scheduling your appointment for the morning can also help minimize wait times.

Ask questions

During your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions. In addition to discussing your health concerns, it’s important to get to know your doctor and their practice. Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • How do you approach the patient-physician relationship?
  • How does your office handle emergencies?
  • Can I contact you with non-emergency questions, and what is the expected response time?
  • How long should I expect to wait for an appointment?
  • If you are unavailable, who will I see?
  • Do you keep paper or electronic medical records?
  • Do you have an online resource for additional information?

Approach your first appointment as an opportunity to get to know your doctor. Be open and honest, and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to look for another provider who better suits your needs.


Q: Why is it important to gather medical records before seeing a new doctor?
A: Gathering your medical records helps ensure that your new doctor has accurate information about your past medical history, allowing them to provide better care.

Q: Can I bring a friend or family member to my first appointment?
A: Absolutely! Bringing a trusted companion can provide support and help ensure that you address all your concerns during the visit.

Q: What questions should I ask my new doctor during my first appointment?
A: Some important questions to consider asking include how they approach the patient-physician relationship, how emergencies are handled, and whether you can contact them with non-emergency questions.


Preparing for your first appointment with a new doctor doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By gathering your medical records, noting important health information, preparing questions, arriving early, and being proactive in your communication, you can make the most of your visit. Remember, the relationship between you and your doctor is important, so don’t hesitate to seek out the best fit for your needs. Good luck with your appointment!