More on the Paralysis of Analysis – It’s All About the “M” Words

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Last week’s post about the Paralysis of Analysis – the situation that many almost-professional private patient advocates find themselves in – those who hesitate to take that last step – the step of reaching out to new people and asking for payment for their services – the switch from volunteer (I can do this, I’ve done it dozens of times before) to paid professional, in business, make no excuses, doin’ it for a living paid patient advocacy….

It really struck a nerve.

One advocate wrote and asked whether I’d been reading her diary.  Another said she felt like Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver (“You talkin’ to ME?”) A dozen posts in the AdvoConnection Forum (undoubtedly representing dozens of others who read those posts but didn’t comment themselves) indicated that yes – guilty as charged – they just can’t do it.

What’s “do it”?  They just can’t ask for money. They’ve been helping others for free for years, either loved ones or friends – and they hesitate to make that leap from volunteer to paid professional.

I understand that!  It’s hard to ask for money in the same ways it’s hard to toot your own horn by telling the world about your successes.  Asking for money for your professional expertise is a lot like bragging – and of course – as we were raised, we were all told not to brag! This is particularly true for women, those of us who have grown up in a society where our contributions and hard work have often been undervalued. (I note that none of the emails or Forum posts came from men…. )

So how is it that some advocates HAVE been able to make the leap successfully?  What do they know, and what are they doing – and doing well – that others just can’t bring themselves to do?

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The 2012 Schueler Patient Advocacy Compass Award Winner Is…

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Announcing the 2012 winner* of the Schueler Patient Advocacy Compass Award…

Elisabeth Russell of Patient Navigator in Vienna, Virginia.  Congratulations Elisabeth!

Elisabeth was the unanimous choice of the selection committee – although – the choice was not an easy one to make.  All applicants were outstanding examples of excellence in their service to their clients.  Competition was stiff. There were no wrong choices.

A few excerpts from Elisabeth’s application:

Patient Empowerment:

Patient-empowerment is the reason I wrote the series of “Roadmaps” that is available on my website. They are self-contained guides in the areas of Medical Management, Advocacy and Patient Education, Resources Available to You, and Insurance. Each is richly sourced to launch a client on his/her way to becoming their own best advocate.

Mentoring others who are considering advocacy as a profession:

Over the past five years, I have answered hundreds of inquiries from individuals hoping to become patient navigators or advocates… I quickly saw from all of the inquiries I receive that I needed to harness the wide range of experience, expertise and passion that folks were sharing with me. In 2009, I created a Linked-In “Patient Navigator” professional networking group. The group now has 792 members and is going strong.

 

These, among other attributes that were so important to Ken Schueler, and the profession of patient advocacy, were some of the reasons the committee chose Elisabeth for this year’s honor.

So what does Elisabeth win?  To further her commitment to her clients and growing her business, her Premium membership in AdvoConnection will be extended an extra year, she will have the right to use the winner’s logo in her marketing, and we will issue press releases to her local media to advise them of her award.

Learn more about the Schueler Patient Advocacy Award, the attributes the selection committee reviewed, and while you’re at it, consider applying for next year’s award.  We’ll begin reminders next Fall.

Once again, and on behalf of the selection committee – congratulations, Elisabeth!

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(*You may remember that the intent is to award two advocates each year – one with a clinical background and one without.  Elisabeth is our non-clinical winner.  No advocates with a clinical background applied.)

 

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Let’s Talk About Excellence in Patient and Health Advocacy

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In less than one week, we will be announcing the winner of this year’s Schueler Patient Advocacy Compass Award.   This is a big deal – and not just for the winner, who will find some perks that go along with the award.

It’s a big deal to you, too, because in many ways, the stories our applicants told, and the questions they were asked to address, are what defines excellence in patient and health advocacy.  In other words – these attributes, based on Ken Schueler’s work, goals and ideals define what we consider to be a top-notch, client-life-enhancing advocate. The candidates’ demonstrations of four of the six goals is what determines the winner.

Let me explain.  The six attributes are:

  • Empowerment ( Helping patient-clients make their best choices by empowering them with the information they need to make fully-informed decisions for themselves)
  • Inclusion ( Recognition that patient-clients of all ages, races, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socio-economic status have a right to engage with a health or patient advocate or navigator.)
  • Integrative, Evidence-Based Approach ( Providing materials and research to the Nominee’s patient-clients that are part of the published literature, and, where appropriate, integrative in nature (combination of traditional, complementary and/or alternative).
  • Continuous Learning (Improvement of Nominee’s own skills, continuing education, taking courses, volunteerism—activities undertaken to expand capabilities and knowledge in a new direction.)
  • Sharing and Mentoring (Helping other advocates and navigators improve their knowledge of the field and/or expand their capabilities.)
  • Community Visibility (Creating awareness of health and patient advocacy by speaking to groups, appearing in the press, participating in social media—activities focused on being an ambassador for the profession.)

In the reviews of the applications for this year’s award, each of the committee members (including me) made phone calls to the references provided by the applicant-candidates.  Those calls left such an impression on me!  The superlatives used by the clients I called – the true appreciation and the strong bonds built by some of our candidates and their clients were heart-warming and awe-inspiring.

A few points to share that repeated themselves – aspects of the work that the best candidates demonstrated:

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