In principle, going to the doctor works the same way in every country:
- you fall ill
- you look for a doctor
- you find a doctor
- you call the doctor
- you go to the doctor
So, what’s to know about going to the doctor in Germany? It’s all in the details. You need the necessary vocabulary to tell the doctor about your symptoms, that’s obvious.
But before you even get there, you need to sort out these formalities:
- Are you insured? You need health insurance.
- You need to call and make an appointment. In case of a medical emergency, you might get one on the same day, but you need to call the doctor’s practice anyway. The receptionist will arrange an appointment for you. – By the way, the same is true if you need an appointment in a hospital.
Once you have your appointment, you’ll have to be there on time. Expect a certain waiting period that you’ll have to spend in the waiting room. The waiting time can range from several minutes to several hours, depending on the number of patients needing an appointment.
Let’s learn some words you’ll probably need to know in German:
|I need an appointment, please.||Ich brauche bitte einen Termin.|
|doctor’s practice||Arztpraxis (f)|
|health insurance card||Krankenversicherungskarte (f)|
|to be insured||versichert sein|
|to take medicine||Medizin einnehmen|
|to be in pain||Schmerzen haben|
If you don’t have any prior knowledge of German, visiting a German doctor might be quite difficult. But don’t despair, many German doctors know at least a little bit English 😉 So it’ll probably not be as difficult as you think.
If you want to prepare, make a list of your symptoms and then, while you’re talking with your doctor, use English, German and sign language, to get your point across.