Why Did I Choose To Be A Patient Advocate

Why Did I Choose To Be A Patient Advocate

My first job out of college was a disaster.

Following my graduate degree in speech pathology, I moved out of state for my first job.  My supervision during my clinical fellowship year was subpar. I felt I was grinding out evaluations and therapy to get the daily quota rather than focusing on the specific care they needed.  I questioned whether I chose the right field.  

I left that job after seven months and ventured into the hospital setting.  Working in hospitals and clinics allowed me to absorb information like a sponge.  I was providing better quality care and using my knowledge the way I was trained to do. 

I spent the next 30 years evaluating, guiding, educating, and training various patients in different medical settings.  In the latter years, I realized something was missing with the quality of care patients receive. 

Often, medical diagnoses are new and perplexing to grasp, leaving patients feeling a sense of urgency to decide their course of treatment without the time to research, understand, or know available options. Our healthcare system is complex and challenging to manage for experienced professionals and the layperson. Patients and families stated they didn’t feel they were able to participate in decisions about their care.

I noticed a sign of gratitude when the time was spent with my patients, explaining and educating them about their issues.  My husband indicated there is a need for this type of work, and it was something called patient advocacy. My caring, investigative, and compassionate skills would be a good fit for this missing link.

That is when I realized patient advocacy was a great way to help others when they struggled with their healthcare decisions.  Using my medical background and experience, I help patients map their way through the tangled web of healthcare and provide guidance and education to make informed decisions.  

How was your first job?