I’ve just returned from Newark where we held the second of our 2018 APHA Summits Networking Events. About 30 advocates attended, with backgrounds ranging from leaders (long-time advocates who have built successful advocacy businesses) through a handful of folks who are just getting started and who arrived as sponges intending to absorb everything they could.
The experience was, in a word, magical. The energy in the room was electric.There was a constant buzz and hum of shared ideas and experiences. There were the usual words of advice that everyone has read or heard in the past, mixed with some surprises when the leaders were asked, “What do you wish you had known when you started your new practice that you didn’t know then?”
There was laughter, there were stories, there was joy, there were “on no!” moments, and there were “aha!” moments, and there was, as attendees departed, a sense of companionship, collaboration, and growing confidence, as in “I got this.”
I came away from this experience as I did from the networking experience in San Diego last month, with a stronger belief than before that private, independent advocacy is maturing, and that the phrase “paying it forward” is alive and well.
This is a change, by the way. A huge one, worth noting here, because I haven’t always been confident in that notion.
…then it’s time to get logical. And logic will triumph!
As many readers know, I’m in the process of coordinating our APHA Summits. We had our first Summit adventure in San Diego a few weeks ago. What a delight! We all learned so much from each other! Next up… Newark / NYC, then on to Chicago, and two new groups of passionate advocates. (I can’t wait!)
What few people understand is the amount of preparation required to make these Summits happen. It’s not so simple as everyone showing up in the same place at the same time to connect with each other. Planning actually begins many months in advance when cities and venues are chosen, initial contacts are signed, the website and registration are set up… much to prepare.
Then in the last few weeks prior to each event, the actual choices are made for room set-ups (round tables? classroom style?), food choices (vegetarian? gluten-free? nut allergies?), and AV needs (are we doing powerpoint? do we need a projector, screen, or wifi?)
Of course, each choice comes with a price tag. Hotel price tags vary. And sometimes, those price tags defy logic. And I mean DEFY LOGIC!
Which is one reason I say – when life defies logic, it’s time to get logical. As follows:
The “mean girls” are at it again… or so I’ve been warned by a handful of APHA members.
I’m not sure I agree. But I know one thing for sure: the world of the mean girls has shifted.
Who are the “mean girls?” I first applied the moniker about three years ago to refer to nurses who believed that no one should be a patient advocate unless he or she is a nurse. I cited instances when a small handful of nurses had bullied other non-nurse advocates both at conferences, and through emails – yes, actively bullied. I outlined once and for all, and very specifically, all the reasons one does not need to be a nurse to be an effective patient advocate. None of that has changed.
Now – because in the past I have been accused of stepping on nurses’ toes when I bring this up (which is never my intention) – let me be perfectly clear. I LOVE nurses! I LOVE their passion and commitment to improving the lives and quality of lives of their patients! I respect nurses for their knowledge, experience, and abilities! And I wholeheartedly support their segue into the world of independent advocacy, with gratitude that they are willing to move to the bright side.
I am also very sure that the “mean girl” concept applies only to a VERY small handful; and certainly not to all nurse-patient-advocates.
I had interesting conversations with someday-advocates last week. I love those conversations; I always learn something from them which I can then bring back to the Alliance and the information we share with members.
And then again, sometimes the questions I hear are the same ones that have cropped up over and over again, including today’s question: Is there insurance reimbursement for the work of an independent advocate?
This time, I’m going to answer that question with a few questions of my own.
My husband and I moved two years ago to Florida where we now live in an “active adult” community*. We love it! We’re very happy here. We’ve met and made many new friends – people we have truly come to care about.
I’m following in family footsteps. My parents did the same thing decades ago. They lived in a different city, but they, too, lived in an active adult community for 20+ years.
My father, in a somewhat macabre voice, always called it “God’s Waiting Room.”
And, as I learned again this past week, it turns out that we now live in God’s Waiting Room, too.