One of my favorite activities as the director of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates is conducting the APHA workshops in business and marketing that we offer a few times each year. One reason I enjoy them so much is because I meet our APHA members – passionate people who plan to improve their business and marketing knowledge in order to strengthen their practices. It is TRULY and ALWAYS a pleasure – and fun.
My absolute favorite workshops are those where I learn as much from attendees as I teach to them. And so it was recently in Phoenix, Arizona – in spades. It was a small group, all women, who were very candid about what they needed, what they wanted to learn, their choices of advocacy as a new career, and more.
And it was from Lorrie, a member of this group that I learned the following phrase… “It’s a thing!”
As we began each session, I asked the attendees to share who they are, where they are from, and their interest in advocacy as a career – what brought them to the workshop? (That way I can tailor the lessons more closely.) Lorrie described how she had reached a point in her career where she knew she wanted to be far more useful to individuals than she could be in her current role, that she began dreaming about setting herself up as a private resource, in a practice that would not be so different from a combination of personal assistant, and healthcare assistant, someone who would go to bat for her patient-clients, who could be a communications facilitator, who would teach others who to get the most from their healthcare experience, even save some money in the process….
So she began to do searches online to figure out if anyone else had set up a practice of a similar description – and that was when she discovered that yes! There were already hundreds of us! Or, as Lorrie described it to the workshop group, It’s a thing!
Yes – patient / health advocacy and navigation is MOST definitely a thing!
We all laughed – because we’ve all reached that point where we realize that we are now a thing 🙂
If you are new, are just beginning to think about advocacy as a career, and wonder if there is a place for you – then “it’s a thing!” is that brand new awareness you bring…. We are still in the pioneering stage of building a profession that never existed (with rare exceptions of a few very forward thinking individuals) until 2009.
If you have been studying or performing advocacy since 2009, then “it’s a thing!” reminds you that you are a very early pioneer, already helping to form this profession which we now predict will become not only mainstream, but necessary over the next decade or so. (Think about it – there was a time when every profession was born from necessity exactly as private advocacy was.)
The profession was born in 2009; we are now barely into our toddler stage.
So thanks to Lorrie, we now have a great phrase we can use not simply as we get started, but as a good description for potential clients, too.
Yes – patient advocacy and navigation is a thing!! And we are very proud of it, our progress as a profession, and its outcomes, and continue to share the excitement and progress it brings – a win, win, win prospect for patients, providers, the system and, of course, ourselves.
If you’re not already playing in our advocacy ball park – then it’s time to join us!
Interested in the workshops? We’ll be in Newark – New York City in just a few weeks. Learn more.
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