Paging Dr. Know-it-all

February 24, 2010 —

I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play 1 on TV. My degrees are solely in the communication arts. It is possible that I am the lowest qualified person AT DMU to answer a health question. And yet sometimes I just CAN NOT bite my tongue.

Not to worry, I don’t give medical advice as an expert or to the clinic patients who dial my phone on accident but sometimes when friends or acquaintances mention something…I turn into lil miss know-it-all.

Y’see I end up editing a lot of general health information or writing copy for clinic brochures or magazine stories here at DMU, plus I sit in on a lot of our health experts’ media interviews. So I end up with tons of tidbits of random health facts floating in my head.

Someone’ll mention they got some of the new fitness shoes and I want to tell them to use caution lest they strain their muscles or joints. A friend is traveling to Africa and before I knew it last week I was giving him a lecture on wearing sunscreen, applying it often and BEFORE he applied his bug spray.

I have to admit I come by this annoyingly helpful trait honestly. My mother once told me at a wedding to go up to a perfect stranger and tell her to get a mole on her back checked because it looked pre-cancerous. (I didn’t, btw.) And yet when someone says they have a cold I have, in the past, responded with a question about the color of their mucus and tips on how to recognize a sinus infection. No lie. (And yet somehow people remain my friends. It’s a mystery to me too.)

So, what’s your hot topic or peeve that makes you pipe up with unasked for advice? Or, actual health professionals, what issues or health conditions prompt you to speak up, interject or correct?


Courtney Tompkins has been part of the DMU marketing team since Nov. 2005 and loves promoting a school she believes in so thoroughly. Proud daughter and patient of DMU alumni, Courtney knows, first-hand, that Des Moines University is doing a world of good. A fan of all outdoor festivals, fruity drinks and nearly all edibles, she has a hard time narrowing down her list of favorite places to go and things to do but lists the Iowa State Fair as an all-time fave. She loves her 8-minute commute to DMU from Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. She and husband Tyler are owned by three large dogs, Tonka, Tucker and Tank.
  • http://www.kellieolson.smugmug.com/ Kelli Olson (DMU employee)

    I must admit, I find myself frequently giving (sometimes shouting) driving advice to others on the road. Of course, they don’t HEAR me giving the advice. On one or two occasions, if someone is going to the same place as myself, I have mentioned that the thing sticking out by their stearing wheel is called a TURN SIGNAL but other than that, I never have the guts to say much in person, although I’d REALLY like to! There are some stupid drivers in Des Moines!

    Also, I’m annoying about photography, if someone mentions they haven’t had pictures of their kids (or a wedding, or babies, or maternity) in awhile, I immediately volunteer to take them (I’m still learning). Some friends like & appreciate it, others respond with a “no, really Kelli, we’ll just go to Target” or something to that affect. I can’t help it! It’s like a disease, my sisters have even dubbed me “auntie flash” because of all the pictures I take of my nephew. Oh well, we are the way we are!

  • http://www.newchildsafety.com S. McLean

    Dear Courtney,

    I can definitely relate to what you are saying. I too am not a clinician but I do work in the area of medical research (as an epidemiologist). So, I find myself wanting to tell people what the latest research states about certain medical issues, for example most recently vaccines with the H1N1. I do have a hard time not interjecting but as you stated sometime you just can’t help but state your two cents.

    Good post, Thanks

  • http://www.quality-web-solutions.com/graphic-design.php Web Graphic Design

    I have an uncle who is quite similar to you.I also give advices to people at times but it’s mostly relation related problems.As far as health is concerned,i advice people on sinus as i suffer from it myself.It was interesting to read your post.Look forward to hearing from you soon again.

  • http://www.bedsfordogs.net Ann

    Interesting because I do that all the time too. I’m not a vet but I love animals and every now and then when someone mention something amiss about their pets, I would chip in to advice them what and how to do to treat their pets. So far, nobody complains and somehow, they even seem to appreciate my free advice (a visit to the vet is not cheap!) lol!

  • http://www.philwipermortgages.ca Windsor mortgage

    Great post Just continue to write so.

  • http://www.compropregister.com/KentSurreySussex.aspx Dave Richards

    Well Courtney, knowing that you are Dr. Know-it-All affirms that you are know-it-all indeed. I believe that whatever advice you butted in, you have all the best intentions. Considering that what you are sharing are wise and helpful tips then it should be appreciated. If we were friends or colleagues I would consider your presence beside me as an advantage. I will always be in the healthy side.

  • http://www.byronstock.com/ Byron

    I am not a doctor either, but am an experienced practitioner in another field, I have had many people tell me I have changed their lives. I can only be grateful to be in a position to be able to help others.

    Keep up the good work.