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Primary Care Physicians: Why are They Important?

Recognizing the importance of having a primary care physician can be challenging for some, especially if you have had a poor experience or two. One bad visit can cause negative feelings and perceptions, or even prevent further medical workup and treatment. I’ve been there!

Before I began my occupation as a nurse, I ignored a lot of my symptoms. I remember going to the doctor several times as a child with terrible stomach pains and my parents were told “she just needs to take fiber”, without any further workup. It was also pushed to the side by another physician while I was in college, which caused me to believe I just had to live with the symptoms I had: constant bloating, stomach pains, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea. I was miserable! It wasn’t until I graduated nursing school and began working with a primary care physician that I realized how prevalent IBS really is. I couldn’t believe the amount of patients we were seeing with the same symptoms I had been experiencing for so long! I knew then I was not alone.

The importance of a compassionate primary care physician

The primary care physician I worked alongside did a multitude of tests on patients that included lab work, ultrasounds, and other radiological exams, along with trying different medications for IBS-C and IBS-D. Every patient is different and does not respond the same way to certain treatments, so if one medication didn’t work, he was persistent until he found one that did or exhausted all efforts otherwise. A referral to a gastroenterologist was typically then initiated. Based on my personal and nursing experiences, if you have a compassionate primary care physician, they will refer you to a specialist with the same demeanor. This is why it is so important to start in the right place with the right physician. Don’t settle!

I know how difficult it is not to “throw in the towel” when suffering with a condition that can be so debilitating and nothing seems to be helping. It is even more challenging when you do not have the support of a physician who is supposed to be there to help and have your best interest at heart, but I want to encourage you to keep looking. A primary care physician that is kind, attentive, persistent, and most importantly an advocate for you and your health is out there, and they are so important to your well-being. Reach out to friends and family members and read physician reviews for suggestions on who to see. Don’t give up on finding the right one!

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.


  • DorisE
    1 year ago

    Ahhh, excellent advice and PCPs are so important, but unfortunately it is not always possible to become a new patient. Where I live in Northern Ontario many people still do not even have a family doctor. Primary Care Physicians’ patients have a variety of illnesses, so to find a Dr. who puts his or her heart and soul into helping a patient with IBS I think would be hard to find. However, if the patient can be referred to a specislist in bowel problems, or a teaching hospital, these Dictors would or should be more helpful. But what to do if our Doctor wont refer? I am travelling four hours each way once a month to see an eye specialist, so more long dustsnce trips for my IBS D or other problems is out if the question. Had I known how downhill my health would go at my late age, I think living in a bigger City with lots of doctors, clinics and hospitals would have been beneficial. However, my new GP is trying his best, but only has ten minutes or so for each appointment and if we have multiple illnesses.. just not enough time. Some patients are waiting over a year to see a specialist.

  • Tori Whitney moderator author
    1 year ago

    Oh wow! PCPs are definitely so important, and it’s hard to imagine one not accepting new patients. I have heard of this though, even here in Alabama. They either aren’t accepting or take a long time to get in with, but there are some out there. Even if they can’t help, they typically refer! I understand how troublesome it can be if they don’t, especially if your insurance requires a referral and you can’t make the appointment on your own! I wish you the best of luck finding someone who can help you! They are out there, just be persistent! Best wishes! – Tori

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