Revisiting the Mean Girls in Our New Advocacy Environment

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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.

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Announcing: A Big Change for Admission to the AdvoConnection Directory

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Many readers of this blog are familiar with, or are already listed in the AdvoConnection Directory. It’s THE place to be for private, professional, independent advocates who want to be found and hired by patients or caregivers who need them. It’s the largest, and the only “vetted” directory that exists for advocates.

We”re announcing today a big change to what it takes to be listed in the directory which will affect almost everyone who has given thought to being included in the directory – but isn’t yet listed. That may include you!

We’ll begin with a little history to help you understand the change.

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History, Tidbits of Interest, and True Confessions about Patient Advocacy Certification

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Today’s post is deeply personal, the culmination of 5-1/2 years of work, thousands of hours of donated time and effort, and my hopes, emotions, and dreams for this profession of health and patient advocacy that I believe is so vital to the future of safe, effective, and fair patienthood.

It regards the launch in mid-March (2018) of Patient Advocate Certification from the PACB (Patient Advocate Certification Board), how we got there, my appreciation and deep respect for the hard work of my fellow PACBoard members, and the immense amount of pride I continue to feel about being a part of the Board, and my role in bringing certification to fruition as one member of the PACB.

It also includes some frustration and some lows that went with the highs….

It’s my personal take on history and true confessions all rolled into one.

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What You Should Know, But Haven’t Asked, about Patient Advocate Certification (And what does Goldilocks have to do with it?)

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There was big excitement last week as the launch for the first Patient Advocate Certification exam took place. From the massive email that went out on January 31 (1700+ people!) to the most-attended-ever APHA Expert Call-in called “Ask the PACB: Prep for the First Exam” – it’s clear there is huge interest in certification for our relatively new profession of health and patient advocacy.

And that’s for good reason!

As more and more people consider advocacy as a profession, it becomes imperative to identify, develop, and maintain the important standards and ethics required to keep the profession highly elevated and respected. One of the few ways we can do so is through development of a very rigorous expectation of standards and ethics, and then to make sure only the cream rises to the top through certification.

That’s what the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) has done.

During registration for the Expert Call-in, registrants were invited to ask questions about the exam. During the call, every question they had posed was answered. (Find a link to the podcast, available to the public, below.)

But there were a few questions no one asked. Their answers might support your ability to pass the exam, to earn your BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate credential), and to effectively promote your newly achieved certification when you do.

I believe the reason they weren’t asked is because of some assumptions made that are untrue. Yes – we all know about assumptions!

So here are the questions, with their answers, in no particular order. You’d do well to review them as you consider sitting for the certification exam.

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The Last Four Myths About Starting an Independent Advocacy Practice

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This is week 3 of our series, and includes the final four myths about starting, building, and growing an independent patient advocacy or care management practice.

To remind you, these myths are based on the comments I’ve heard from advocates who (I’m sorry to say) failed at getting a practice started, not because they don’t know how to be good advocates (they do!) but because they tried to get started despite their misconceptions about what it would be like to do so.

Here are the final four myths for you to consider, in hopes these misconceptions aren’t yours. Or, if they are, we hope this helps you reconsider, and take steps to be sure they don’t sink your advocacy practice.

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