How do I Become a Patient Advocate?

As a volunteer, a professional, or through the political process, there are three ways to become a patient advocate. On behalf of a client, a patient advocate is in charge of coordinating multiple health-care services. This is an extremely important role that adds value to both individuals and health-care providers.

Patient advocacy services cover a wide range of activities, from arranging transportation to and from medical appointments to directly communicating with health-care professionals about the client’s concerns and health issues. The health-care industry is extremely complicated, and coordinating care for people who have multiple health issues takes time, attention to detail, and persistence. These services are provided the patient advocate, who assists patients in receiving all of the care they require.

You must fill out a volunteer application form at your local hospital or health services center to become a patient advocate volunteer. Although there are no specific educational requirements for patient advocates, experience in health care, excellent communication skills, and patience are all desirable qualities. For this type of volunteer position, a police background check is required.

Social workers, nurses, and nurses’ assistants are all qualified to act as patient advocates. A government agency, hospital, or charitable organization hires a health care worker as a professional patient advocate. Each advocate has a unique set of responsibilities, clients, and visitation times. The health care worker in this role is expected to use her advanced knowledge and medical experience to facilitate clear, open, and honest communication between the patient and the medical professionals providing care.

At the political level, patient advocacy offers a great opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Experience with the political process in the health-care industry is required to become a patient advocate at this level. This is a management position, with responsibilities including developing presentations on specific health-care issues, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of any proposed plan, and holding institutions accountable for how they treat their most vulnerable patients.

You’ll need patience, perseverance, dedication, and excellent communication skills to become a patient advocate. People who enjoy this type of work are socially conscious, naturally outgoing, and have a strong sense of belonging. The personal interaction with the client is a big part of this job’s rewards.