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How Do I Become a Health Care Advisor?

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  • Written By: A. Reed
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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If you think you'd enjoy working closely with patients and their families, prefer to focus on the psychosocial aspects of health care, and desire to give a voice to the needs and wishes of patients, then you might want to become a health care advisor. Taking the steps to realizing your goals in this industry requires you to learn about patient advocacy and obtain training in the health care field or other area where health care advising plays a major role. Involving many career areas, health care advising includes such professions as insurance, medicine, and legal fields.

To become a health care advisor, the place to begin is understanding the duties of a patient advocate. Those working as health care advisors typically provide advisement regarding the health, treatment, and prognosis of their clients, while some assist patients with making end-of-life decisions. They also might consult with them on matters of providing health care coverage for their families or deciding whether to pursue a malpractice suit and the best course of action to take. Sometimes a health care advisor is called a health care advocate.

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Training to become a health care advisor is generally determined by the capacity in which you have a career interest. Most healthcare careers require some type of practice license and completion of a two- or four-year degree program. Courses of study typically include taking classes in life sciences such as biology or anatomy, as well as chemistry and mathematics. Clinical experiences are also required, as you’ll need to apply classroom learning to actual patient care. While training to become a dental assistant, for example, you’ll obtain hands-on skills while working in dental clinics and offices.

Certain careers require an understanding of legal principles and health care law in order to become a health care advisor, particularly for certified public accountants (CPA), legal nurse consultants, and attorneys. These positions require education and training beyond that for most health care advisors, typically a master's degree or completion of professional education. Examination and licensing are mandated for these fields as well.

The field of advising others about their health covers a breadth of careers and consists of many areas including insurance, accounting, and the law. There really is no one particular health care advisor job per se, but is an important duty performed inside of a larger health-related role such as a health insurance representative, public accountant, or medical professional. Employed in various health care settings, mental health workers often collaborate with other members of the health care team to advocate for their patients. Health care professionals are generally at the forefront of patient advocacy and advising as doctors and nurses frequently include patient education and consultation in the overall plan of care. An attorney may opt to specialize in certain areas of the law such as elder abuse and medical malpractice.

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