Monday, July 6, 2015

Learn is a Four Letter Word

This morning I am looking into educational programs for health advocacy. I feel that a certification will give me credibility as well as teach me, among other important things, what I don’t know about the professional side. One thing I discovered is that there is now national or international standard of knowledge or skills for health advocacy. A certificate only means that I completed their courses. Would completion of courses give me credibility?

photo of advocate credibility trust influence reach learn monarae-beads
Courtesy David Armano
Credible: believable. If I have a certificate of completion does that make me believable? It seems to me, as a consumer, the person with experience is the one I believe. In order to gain experience I need to be credible; a catch-22. If I use my certification as a status, I must also state who certified me; is it better that UC Berkeley or Stanford certified me than the University of Wisconsin?


Photo of advocate skill passion learn education monarae-beads
Courtesy Juhan Sonin
It is advised to consider where I plan to earn my income, when choosing an educational program.  Do I want to work for someone else or myself?  My answer is, “both.” I want to be involved as a contractor for professional organizations, and I want my own practice.  However, with respect to education and how I want to be employed, it is a matter of whose skill set I need to comply with.

 As an independent advocate I need advocacy skills and business skills. I guess I already knew that; 3 weeks ago I started looking for a business coach.  I feel very good about my ability to look at the medical system from the patient perspective. But I already know there is a gap in my knowledge about efficiently getting desired results from the medical system. I found a list of master skills/services; this will help me find my advocacy gap. When it comes to business I completely lack confidence; this is the area I need to learn about most.

photo of advocate skill passion learn education online classroom books monarae-beads
Courtesy Deslizate Naranja!
Accessibility is also an issue to consider. I love the motivation of being in a classroom, not to mention the networking opportunities that come with it. However, the “right” program with physical presence can be a challenge for me. If I had to move, what would happen to my home, my son, my pets, and how could I afford it? Additionally, if I choose the convenience and affordability of an online education, does that influence credibility?

photo of advocate skill passion learn read education online classroom books monarae-beads
Courtesy Soon Koon
One of the links I found led me to a book on starting an advocacy business.  Doh! Amazon!  One search and I found several books. If I buy the book through The APHA (Alliance of Professional Health Advocates), I can get a free month of membership. Their membership is only 50.00 per year and they have the best resources I’ve found so far. They have a series of four books and 2 are available on Amazon.
Courtesy WalknBoston
I should wait to be sure before I start spending money; am I strong enough to self-govern or do I need the structure and accountability of a program? It comes, as usual, full circle back to “know thyself.”
Answer this: How do you like to learn? Self-taught with books and other media? Structured classroom? Online classroom?

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts!