There is a saying that patient advocates can use to empower their patients to improve patient engagement. It is See One, Do One, Teach One.

Teaching our patients what we know, allowing them to practice with you and then work on their own, will enable them to be their own best advocates.

Two of the key competencies we bring to our work are being proactive in managing cases and being an advocate for our patients. As an independent case manager/patient advocate, I have found these competencies form the basis of patient and family education.

Being proactive means thinking ahead, anticipating what could happen, and working to help to avoid setbacks such as readmissions, unnecessary emergency department visits, and setbacks that impact the patient’s recovery.

To be proactive, we all need to understand the patient’s condition and the proposed care plan that the patient and the treatment team have agreed on. I need good communication skills with the patient, the family, the healthcare team, and other stakeholders. To be proactive, I need to stay on top of clinical issues, ask questions and share the information I gain as the case progresses.

Teaching my patients and their families to be proactive allows them to take control back, which is often lost when a person enters the complex world of healthcare. Empowering patients to ask questions and share their goals and wishes to help them better understand their care and how the system works.

As an advocate, I educate my patients and their families in setting reasonable expectations of the healthcare system and its role. I urge them to be involved, ask questions, and follow up on things they have been told need would happen.

To show them how to advocate for themselves, I have started having my patient on many calls with providers and others who influence their care. Doing this allows the patient to hear me ask key questions and enables them to say what is on their minds (which is the reason we are calling). Including them empowers them to ask their questions, which can lead to changes in the care plan.

What are the competencies that you teach your patients? Put a comment in the comment section so we can all learn from one another.

Thanks for reading Nurse Advocate! Have a good week.

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