Fashionistas! What Hats Does an Advocate Wear?

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Fashionistas! What Hats Does an Advocate Wear?

I played golf the other day with a group of women I didn’t know well. I came away from the round being less pleased with my golf game (I really can’t putt!), but much pleased with the conversation and its application for our health and patient advocacy profession. In fact, I was so pleased with it, I went home and recorded notes so I could remember the conversation to share with you. The ladies I played with were very curious about advocates. They all had healthcare horror stories to share. One had recently been through some bad medical experiences with her husband. One by one throughout the morning, she told me about some healthcare system transgression he (they) had suffered. For each one, I described to her some ways an independent advocate might have helped (with the emphasis on “independent” for all the obvious reasons.) Ultimately the conversation produced a list of “hats” – the many kinds of help and support an advocate can provide. It wasn’t a list of services, such as the list we’ve included on the AdvoConnection Directory site. Instead it was more about benefits and support. So I share this list with you today and invite you to add to it below. Each hat completes the sentence: An (independent) advocate is a _________________. Of course, not all advocates wear all these hats, but all advocates wear at least some of them. So, advocate fashionistas… What hats can you add to the list?  An advocate is a guide (navigator) to the healthcare system. This one is probably the most descriptive of an advocate, no matter what services he or she performs for patient-clients. It’s perhaps the most ‘classic’ of job descriptions in advocacy.  An advocate is an expert. Advocates are experts in finding resources and uncovering options in the healthcare system. We are also experts in everything else listed here.  An advocate is a teacher. Helping clients to better understand everything from their diagnoses, to treatment options, to pros and cons, to why one surgeon might be a better choice than another, to how to ask questions…


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