Everything you need to know to keep yourself safe

Making and Preparing for an Appointment

When calling a clinic to make an appointment, have your information ready:

Be ready to describe the kind of services you’re interested in. Don’t be nervous, they’re there to talk to you about what you need! Some examples for what you might say are:
  • “I’d like to be seen for STD testing”
  • “I am interested in getting birth control.”
  • “I’d like a pelvic exam.”
TIP: Write down the date and time of your appointment and create reminders for yourself. Depending on the clinic, you may be removed from the schedule if you’re late.  They may give you phone numbers for other offices if they don’t offer the service you need. The receptionist should also be able to give you an idea of how long your appointment will take. The clinic may ask for your insurance information. If possible, have your insurance card handy so you can answer any questions. If you don’t have insurance or don’t want to use your insurance for the visit, let the receptionist know so they can tell you approximately how much the visit will cost. For more tips on how to deal with insurance and paying for services, check out tips 2 and 3 here. If you prefer to see only a male or female clinician, you can make a request when making the appointment. Depending on the clinic, the staff may be able to accommodate your request. TIP: Clinics can run behind, so be prepared for delays should they occur. 

It’s a good idea to write down your questions before your appointment so you don’t forget to ask.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Your photo identification (driver’s license, state ID, passport, or school ID, etc.)
  • Your insurance card
  • Your questions–think ahead of time about what questions you want to be sure to talk with your clinician about. It can help to have them written down in your phone or on a piece of paper so you can make sure you don’t forget to ask your questions.

IF YOU’RE GOING TO YOUR FIRST GYNECOLOGY APPOINTMENT:

  • Try to remember the date of your last menstrual period
  • Ask your family about their medical history. Some questions you might ask could be:
    • Has anyone in our family had cancer, diabetes, or heart disease?
    • Has anyone in our family died from cancer, heart attack, or other diseases?
    • Does our family have a history of stroke or high blood pressure?
    • Do we have a history of alcohol or drug abuse?
    • Does anyone in our family have a genetic disorder?

AT THE APPOINTMENT:

When you arrive you will check in at the front desk, the staff will ask you for your name and appointment time. Remember to bring your ID and your insurance card. Some clinics may ask that you complete some paperwork, such as a medical history form and/or a service agreement. You can ask the front desk staff or your clinician for help if you have trouble completing any of the forms. After checking in and completing any paperwork, the staff may take your blood pressure, weight, and height measurements. Every clinic operates differently; some may have you see a nurse or counselor first, while at others you may only see the clinician. At the appointment, your clinician will ask you some questions and the reason for your appointment. This will help them give you the best service they can. Be honest and feel free to ask questions; your clinician is there to help. Also, know beforehand which pharmacy you would like to use should you need medication.