There are three ways to become a patient advocate: as a volunteer, in a professional capacity and through the political process. A patient advocate is responsible for coordinating multiple health care services on behalf of a client. This is a very important role and one that provides added value to both individuals and health care providers.
Patient advocacy services are quite broad, and range from arranging transportation to and from medical appointments to communicating directly with health care staff about the client's concerns and health issues. The health care services industry is very complex, and the coordination of care for people with multiple health issues requires time, attention to detail and follow through. The patient advocate provides these services and helps patients receive all the care they required.
In order to become a patient advocate volunteer, you will need to complete a volunteer application form at your local hospital or health services center. Although there are no specific educational requirements for patient advocates, a background in health care services, excellent communication skills and patience are all valuable assets to have. A police record check is standard for this type of volunteer position.
Social workers, nurses and nurses assistants all have the skills necessary to become a patient advocate. As a professional patient advocate, health care workers are hired by a government agency, hospital or charitable organization. Each advocate has a specific set of duties, clients and visitation schedule. In this role, the health care worker is expected to use her advanced knowledge and medical experience to facilitation clear, open, honest communication between the patient and the health care professionals responsible for providing medical care.
Patient advocacy at the political level is an area where there is a great opportunity to make a difference in people's lives. In order to become a patient advocate at this level, experience in the political process within the heath care industry is critical. This role is a management one, with the creation of presentations on specific health care issues, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of any proposed plan and holding the institutions accountable for how they treat their most vulnerable patients.
In order to become a patient advocate, you should have patience, perseverance, dedication and excellent communication skills. People who enjoy this type of work have a strong social welfare bias, are naturally outgoing and have a strong sense of community. The rewards from this job are closely related to the personal interaction with the client.