This is a message with a little tough love for some of the folks I encounter – Pollyannas – who are choosing advocacy as career move.
Sorry Pollyanna – but there is no room for you in patient advocacy. You have a choice: you can either learn to overcome your inner Pollyanna or you can find yourself another profession. Pollyannaism can too easily get in the way of the professionalism required of good, competent advocates, and can result in deficient service to clients.
The Pollyanna Advocate
Pollyanna is a fictional character from children’s literature, who is known for always being positive – too positive. Her default is to trust blindly. She is foolishly and naïvely optimistic.
To be clear – I do believe there is plenty of room for optimism in advocacy! Clients are happier and well-served by an advocate or care manager with a friendly smile and a positive outlook on life.
But that’s not the same as the Pollyannaism of blind trust or naïveté. The negative effects of being a Pollyanna in the advocacy business range from substandard client service and outcomes, to advocates going out of business.
Here are a few real-life advocacy and care management examples: