Advocating for Others
Guest post by Linda W., NIH Patient Advocate Volunteer.
I like advocating for others and for myself. In 2017 I started as a patient advocate to help consumers at NIH’s clinic. I tell them what NIH programs are about and connect consumers to resources. I also listen to their needs and support them. When I first started I was nervous, but I now feel very confident. I have improved my communication skills and multi-tasking skills. Volunteering also motivates me to get out the house and helps me be self-sufficient.
As a patient advocate I help consumers advocate for themselves like I do. When I support the consumers I am a model for them because I help them stand up for themselves and be vocal about their needs. For example, I had a couple consumers come in and while talking to them I realized they needed primary care services. So I walked the consumers to the Detroit Community Health Connection counter in our clinic and helped them schedule an appointment. By doing that with them and showing them how, they feel empowered and learn how to do that for themselves.