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Seeing A Pulmonologist For The First Time

I have been thinking a lot about my respiratory care and I could not help but think back to my first respiratory referral to a pulmonologist. While it was not a match made in heaven, I did learn a lot from that experience.

Seeing a pulmonologist for the first time

My experience began with the initial referral from my family doctor. I had become increasingly unwell, and the rescue inhaler and the combo inhaler that my family physician had prescribed (along with a repeated course of oral corticosteroids) just were not doing the trick anymore. I was being referred to a specialist. Honestly, I went in with no expectations, barely prepared, and – quite frankly – I was naive.

I wasn’t sure what to expect that first time. I thought that the pulmonologist would guide me through the process. Unfortunately, this did not happen. What I know now is that I needed to be prepared for that first appointment. If I could go back and do it again, here’s what I would do differently.

Preparing for your first appointment with a pulmonologist

Be prepared

Have all the information you can! Include why you are there, previous spirometry results, full PFT (pulmonary function tests), labs, medications you have tried, etc. This will allow you to have a good foundation for your discussions.

Know what your goals are

Is your goal to find symptom control? Address side effects? Explore a new treatment? Having an idea of what you would like to gain out the appointment will help you stay on track. 

Ask questions

Don’t only ask questions about your asthma, but also about how that practice or clinic works, when you will receive test results, and how to contact the office for urgent matters. 

Bring someone with you

It is easy to get caught up in emotions or even to just feel overwhelmed by information. Having someone else in the room to focus on what the doctor is saying and take notes is a great asset. While it may not always be possible to have someone with you, it can be helpful to make yourself a cheatsheet, just to keep your appointment on track.

Ensure your appointment stays on track

It can be easy for appointments to get derailed, especially when you are seeing a new physician and perhaps are unfamiliar with their practice. Therefore, I usually write current treatments and goals for every appointment. Other information that I include is there a specific test, treatment, or concern that I would like to have addressed.

Additionally, this is also a great place to write down questions that you may have and take a moment before your appointment concludes to reference your sheet. I have had appointments where I have written the questions down and then I forgot to ask them. Depending on the practice and your physician it may be difficult to ask questions afterward.

Don’t be afraid, take a deep breath, and trust your inner patient. Remember you are there to work with your physician. What are your tips for preparing for an appointment with a new physician? I would love to hear about your experiences.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator
    1 month ago

    Thanks. neverwill4getcody . for sharing your asthma experience. I had a similar experience with pulmonologist with a bad “bedside” manner. So, I fired him and moved on to a better one. It is so awesome to hear you found a great asthma doctor who was able to help you get the proper diagnosis’ you deserve and better treatment and control for both. Love hearing success stories like this. Yes, I have heard many great things about Trelegy. It seems to have helped many people with asthma gain better control. Thanks again for sharing your story. All the best. John. Site Moderator.

  • neverwill4getcody
    1 month ago

    My first appointment sucked the Dr was rude he got upset cuz I couldn’t remember all medicines I was on so he scheduled a PFT I went but I told my family Dr referr me somewhere else I will not go back to that rude ass lung Dr he said you’re not the only one to say that so who do you want to be referred to so I said my mama is seeing a lung Dr I love he’s great in Chattanooga TN can you referr me to him and he did all kinds of test and we found out that not only do I have severe asthma I have a lung disease called restrictive lung disease and my allergies are messing with my asthma so I had allergy test the allergist said your not the most allergic person but you’re in the middle so I have to take allergy shots often for 5yrs ..he also put me on a new inhaler trelgy it has done wonders I have a nebulizer and Albuterol for nebulizer for my bad days I also take singular at bedtime and I have an Albuterol inhaler for flare ups I highly recommend trelgy

  • Shellzoo
    1 month ago

    My tips would be the same. Even though I am a nurse, I find that if I don’t write my questions down, they don’t get answered. That is how I got my provider to tell me I have asthma/COPD, most likely from untreated asthma over several years. I understand much of the terminology but finally had to write my questions down and bring it in to get a good answer. My asthma provider also treats my allergies so I was already seeing them prior to my asthma diagnosis. Just happened to complain of wheezing and got tested and diagnosed. Never had much time with that appointment for questions and did not expect to find out I have asthma at that appointment but for all future appointments I make a point to make sure my questions are answered.

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