Preparing for a doctor’s appointment

Read Original Version (CLB5+) You are reading the Simple Version (CLB3-4)

Skip to:

First time to visit a doctor in Canada?

Prepare for it so that you:

  • don’t get nervous
  • make the most out of the appointment
  • save time (both yours and your doctor’s)


  1. List down your what you are feeling (symptoms):
    • Write down how often and how long you have been experiencing them.
    • Example:
      • July 8 –headache Friday afternoon after working on the computer
      • July 9 –headache in the evening after work
      • July 10 – fever (39 °C) and body pain
  2. List down medicines you have taken.
    • Be detailed.
    • It will help the doctor know your illness more quickly.
  3. For a routine check-up:
  4. Have information on the following:

    • Family history of conditions and diseases
    • Previous surgeries
    • Therapies and treatments
    • Allergies
    • Screenings or vaccinations
    • Medicines or supplements
    • Specific health concerns or questions

Need more help?
If you need help with your English, go to:

During the appointment:

  1. Be ready to answer these questions:
    • What brings you in today?
    • What hurts?
    • What are your symptoms? Or What do you feel?
    • How long has this been going on?
    • Has the pain been getting better or worse?
    • Do you smoke? Do you drink alcohol? How often?
    • Do you have a family history of this?
    • Do you take medicines or supplements?
    • Are you sexually active?
    • Have you had previous surgeries?
    • Are you allergic to any medicines?
  2. Come on time
  3. If you can’t speak in English or French:
    • bring a friend or a family member with you
    • assign a patient advocate
      • it is a person who can support you or act on your behalf.
  4. Ask if you don’t understand something.
    • say “Please explain”, or “Please speak slowly, I didn’t understand what you said”
    • ask for interpreter services
    • It is safe to ask:
      • What is my health problem?
      • What do I need to do?
      • Why do I need to do this?
  5. Write down terms, directions, or instructions from the doctor.

Before you leave
Know when and how to follow-up

  • Ask if you can call or email if you have questions.
  • Ask for contact numbers or email addresses.
  • If you need a follow-up check up, ask the assistant to schedule it.


  1. Bring your Manitoba Health Card.
  2. Bring your supplementary health insurance card (if you have one).
  3. Fill out the patient information form completely.
  4. Know your rights and responsibilities as a patient.
    Article updated March 20, 2024.

Back to top

Community Resources

Use the S.A.F.E. Toolkit for tips and information to help you become more involved with your healthcare. Download the pamphlet available in 14 languages.

Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

Health Workshops

A health care worker holding the hand of a patient

This is a series of workshops related to health. Workshops 1 is geared towards CLB 3-4. Workshop 2 is geared… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.