The College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick recognizes that unexpected demands on physicians' time can place burdens on practice schedules that are typically very tight. It is, nevertheless, essential that physicians respond appropriately to the needs of patients who present with multiple questions or problems. The College, therefore, encourages its members to be familiar with, and to observe, the following guidelines.

  1. An inflexible "one problem per visit" policy is not acceptable. Nor can such be enforced through office signage. The physician must be prepared to deal with additional problems or questions if necessary. Factors to take into account are the patient's age, degree of infirmity, intellectual sophistication, and the distance from their home to your office.
  2. Itemize and prioritize the patient's problems early in the appointment to make good use of time.
  3. Always consider the possibility of urgent, or emergent, problems.
  4. Members are not required to address all patients’ concerns in one visit, but must place the patient’s best interest before his/her own and implement practices to ensure that urgent matters are appropriately addressed in a timely fashion and less urgent matters are deferred to a later scheduled appointment.
  5. Use tact and diplomacy when explaining why you must schedule a future appointment rather than deal with the problem immediately. (e.g. "There are other patients waiting for me right now" or "I am not set up to do that procedure or investigation right now" or "To deal properly with that question, I'll need more time than I have right now").
  6. Recognize that office staff play a key role in communicating with patients, and brief them accordingly.


Based on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia


11/13, 11/20


General Information

Address all correspondence to

Dr. Laurie A. Potter, Registrar and CEO
College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick
One Hampton Road, Suite 300
Rothesay, NB E2E 5K8 

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