If you work in the healthcare field, you may be aware that patient advocacy is extremely important in any medical role and setting. Patient advocacy, or showing support for your patient’s needs, requires an obligation to always act in a way that is in your patient’s best interest regarding their healthcare needs. Here are three tips for how to be the best advocate for your patients:
Very often patients are overwhelmed with information about their medical conditions, confused about what to expect from their prognosis or treatments. Ensuring that a patient is at ease should be a top priority; thus educating them and being a resource when they have questions regarding their treatment plan is essential. Utilizing compassion when providing information regarding their medical care is a part of the job that everyone handles in their own way, but it can make all the difference for how a patient feels when they leave the room.
Communicate with other providers.
In many cases, patients have a team of healthcare providers involved in their care plans. From the point of diagnosis to the execution of treatment, patients see a variety of physicians and nurses who play varying roles in their care. As a healthcare professional, it is in your best interest to seek out your patient’s external providers and communicate with them. Communication eliminates confusion, and if your patient can receive timely and accurate status updates on their treatment process, it will make the experience more bearable for them.
Empower patients to advocate for themselves.
In addition to being an advocate for your patients, it is equally important to empower them to advocate for themselves. This means encouraging your patients to take an active role in their medical journey by asking questions and getting as much information as possible about their care plans. You can advise patients to make a list of questions and concerns they would like to discuss with their physicians, as well as assist them in accessing resources available to them (such as patient portals or on-call answering services). Ensuring patients are comfortable enough to seek out the relevant questions and guidance regarding their medical care is an unspoken part of the job, but one that holds massive weight when it comes to patient advocacy.
As you progress in your healthcare career, patient advocacy will likely become second nature – especially if you work in roles in which you frequently have one-on-one patient interactions.