Not many I know enjoy going to the doctor’s, and certainly not me. I never like making trips to hospitals, and would only make that trip if I didn’t have another option.
A while ago, I was put into that situation when a cold and cough I had turned a tad bit nastier than usual. I was forced to discover a suitable practice and figure out how visiting a doctor in Germany worked. It was certainly quite different from how it worked back home.
I first went on Google to search for English speaking doctors. My search returned three results. When I tried to place a phone call to one of the three practices, there was a lot of German happening on the other side of the phone which I tried desperately to understand but in the end gave up and phoned another doctor. A very, very friendly assistant picked up and said she could speak English. After giving her my insurance number and briefly telling her what was wrong, she set up an appointment for me and gave me a time slot to come by. She was so kind, she instantly made me feel better about my condition.
I had never been to the area where the medical practice was located before, but it was very easy to find. And it was situated in a gorgeously beautiful area. The architecture was so lovely – it felt like walking through an old story book.
The nurses at the medical practice couldn’t be any more helpful and friendly. It was the most pleasant experience. I had to wait about 30 minutes more than was necessary because there had been an emergency situation so appointments were put back, but because of how lovely everything was, those 30 minutes weren’t a problem. When it was finally my turn, my doctor did a quick examination and suggested an x-ray for which I had to visit a radiologist at a different place.
To be able to visit a radiologist, the doctor gave me a paper called “Überweisungsschein” which has your name, insurance number, the diagnosis and the test you need to do. I then had to take this with me to a radiology center to make an appointment for the test to be done. After the test is done, the radiologist will send your test report to the practice that recommended the test and you then make an appointment with the practice to learn about the result of the test. Very interesting! Because back home all this happened in one place, in one hospital (probably different floors) but definitely one place and could all be done in one single day.
To sum up my very first experience of visiting a medical practice in Germany, I’d say it was pretty good and wasn’t scary at all. The staff are always warm and friendly and my doctor is also very kind, always explaining test results to me and recommending further tests with a lot of patience.
I feel like a lot of students might find the process a bit daunting or confusing, and my blog post probably wasn’t as clear as I wanted it to be so below are the steps for visiting a medical practice.
- Call them up (or visit them) to make an appointment
- Go to the practice at the time slot allocated to you
- If the doctor recommends you to take extra tests or visit another hospital, she will give you a piece of paper which you show at the other hospital
- If the doctor prescribes medicines for you, she will also give you a piece of paper, which you show at the pharmacy to get your medicines (there is usually a co-payment for medicines, which means you have to pay for the medicines)
Stay safe and healthy! ❤️