How To Be A Patient Advocate
Want to learn about how to be a patient advocate? To be a patient advocate, you must have a working knowledge of the medical system and have the skills and patience to work towards positive change. Most patient advocates have a background in medicine and have worked as doctors, nurses, paramedics, medical social workers, or hospital administrators. These are not formal qualifications, however. Anyone with a drive to make a difference and a basic understanding of the medical field can be a patient advocate.
- Learn about the issues surrounding the healthcare system. If you have already worked in the medical field, you’re already in a good position to be a patient advocate. If you are choosing the advocacy path due to personal experiences with the healthcare system or because you have a loved one who is a patient, consider furthering your education in the field. Two or three basic medical terminology or healthcare administration courses at your community college can solidify your knowledge base and start you on your path to being a patient advocate.
- Know the patient advocacy process. To effectively put your knowledge into practice and be an effective patient advocate, you will need to understand the proper channels through which to file complaints on behalf of patients and propose ideas that will improve the quality of care.
- Develop your lobbying and patient advocacy skills. Patient advocates must be able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Hone your skills by taking a writing or public speaking class.
- Volunteer at a patient advocacy group. Before seeking out a paid position as a patient advocate or lobbying for your ideas independently, locate volunteer opportunities with local hospitals, community health centers, clinics, hospices, and nonprofit groups.