I recently received my master’s in management and have had several years of leadership experience. I am considering a change and would love a position where I have the opportunity to advocate for patients and solve problems without the headache of dealing with middle-management issues. I also hate being chained to a desk. Any ideas?
Dear Donna replies:
Congratulations! You have many opportunities to put your experience and credentials to good use to advocate for patients.
I would suggest that you first get on a legislative committee of a nursing professional association such as your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org). If you are not already a member, join. This is a good way to get more closely connected to your profession, your state legislators and nurses working in government, etc. Knowledge + contacts = power.
Contact state agencies that are responsible for patient advocacy such as your state ombudsman or other agency that oversees care and treatment of the elderly and children as well as healthcare consumer protection agencies. Contact AARP and ask to speak with whomever is doing HC consumer advocacy for them. Do some informational interviewing (http://news.nurse.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2004404190355) with folks doing something similar to what you are considering or interested in.
Attend some meetings (even as a guest) of the American College of Healthcare Executives (www.ache.org) as well as the Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy (www.shca-aha.org).
Talk to enough people and you’ll eventually find what youre looking for.
Good luck, Donna