How to Break Up With Your Healthcare Professional

Staying healthy requires a professional team approach.

The doctors, personal trainers, massage therapists, and other healthcare professionals we choose for our team help us stay at the top of our game or give us a boost when we're not at our best. What if your healthcare professional isn't a good team player? Then it's time to bench him.

Maybe the problem is with your doctor. He keeps you waiting, doesn't listen, talks down to you, misdiagnoses you, doesn't take you seriously, orders unnecessary tests or not enough tests, or generally leaves you feeling worse when you leave your appointment than when you arrived.

Or, maybe the problem is your trainer. She shows up late, talks too much about herself, insults you, isn't delivering results, or your getting injured.

And, maybe it's your acupuncturist or massage therapist. She's not doing the job you need her to do.

Whoever it is, whatever the reason, when it's time to call it quits, here's how to do it:

1. Be the Boss

It's natural to think of your doctor or trainer as an authority figure, but really, you're the one in charge. You hired this person to work on your health team and you can fire him.

2. Be up front

A face-to-face conversation is always the best way to end a relationship, but if that's not possible or it's too uncomfortable, find another way to end it. Make a call, send an email, or write a letter telling your health pro you're moving on.

3. Be direct

Tell her the reason why it's over. There's no need to be hostile, but you do need to be direct. Tell her you don't feel comfortable or you want to see if someone new can get different results or you need a professional who doesn't keep you waiting. If there's a specific event that turned you off, tell her. Your doctor, trainer, or therapist may not realize something she's doing is off-putting.

4. Be open and listen

After you've communicated your concerns to your healthcare professional, listen to what he has to say. You may be doing something that's sabotaging this relationship. For example, you might be kept waiting because you have a habit of scheduling last-minute appointments that leave his office staff no choice but to make you wait while trying to fit you in. Or, you might not be seeing weight-loss results because you don't want to use the heavier weights your trainer recommends to progress, or you're not honest about how much you eat.

5. Be organized

Ask for copies of all your medical records so you can take them to your next doctor. Ask your trainer for a write up of your fitness plan. Remember, you're the boss. They're your records, you're entitled to them, and you hired this person to create them for you.

After you've broken up with your healthcare professional, choose your next one carefully and be prepared to "date" a few before settling on "the one."

Heather Weldon, MD, OB/GYN, reviewed this article.