The Role Of Healthcare Practitioners In Community Service Management

The Role Of Healthcare Practitioners In Community Service Management

Living a healthy life can help you avoid mental and physical illnesses and live a productive life. If you always have been mindful about your health and are also eager to promote and advocate healthy living, why not look at the bigger picture? Pursuing a career in the healthcare industry can help you achieve your dreams by positively impacting people’s life. Moreover, the positive point of making a career in the healthcare industry is it offers its professionals many lucrative and gratifying career opportunities. 

However, if you wish to help others but don’t wish to work in hospitals or clinics, no worries. You can still become a healthcare practitioner and work in community service to fulfill your desire to help various people. One such career is as a community health worker. As a community health worker, you need to address socioeconomic and health issues in the community and work for the betterment and well-being of its population. This guide can help you understand what educational requirements and job responsibilities are necessary that can help you provide health services in the community.

Educational Requirements

Although educational requirements may differ based on job roles, a minimum high school diploma can help you kickstart your career as a community health worker. However, some job roles, such as health educator, require you to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in any health or science-related field. Some standard courses in your bachelor’s degree may include anatomy, physiology, biology, epidemiology, etc. Completing your training of 100 hours can boost your career and increase the chances of landing a job. 

However, do you wish to pursue your community healthcare worker (CHW) career in specialization roles but can’t do so because of work and family commitments? In that case, there are online degrees for those who don’t have the chance to pursue in-person education. You can opt for earning a remote degree like an online mph degree to stay ahead of your peers. The degree can equip you with advanced learning and prepare you to positively impact all community levels. You will be studying behavioral statistics, environmental health, epidemiology, policymaking, and many other exciting subjects in your master’s program to take your career to the next level. 

Job Duties 

As a community health worker, you may work in a one-on-one setting or have group sessions to promote health and provide quality care. The work environment may vary according to job positions. However, some standard work settings include government agencies, non-profit organizations, and health facilities. Are you wondering what would be your everyday job responsibilities as a community health professional? Read on!

  • Gather and record data such as demographics, habits, health conditions, etc. of the community to present it to local health service and policymakers
  • Bridge the gap between vulnerable patients and other healthcare professionals by facilitating communications between them
  • Discuss health issues and educate patients, stakeholders, and overall community members on health topics to promote well-being
  • Encourage patients to participate in health programs and provide self-care plan 
  • Visit the patients at their homes having special health conditions such as pregnant women, infants, patients with high-risk diseases, etc
  • Help patient understand socioeconomic issues that are affecting their physical or mental health and help them overcome those issues
  • Collaborate with other health professionals to identify and work on social and economic issues and barriers 
  • Provide support to medical providers in outreach programs to raise community awareness
  • Offer transportation to patients for their medical appointments
  • Advise clients to complete their applications to gain access to health services and benefits

Common Challenges For Community Healthy Workers

Although the role of community health workers is a breakthrough initiative to mitigate the health issues in less-privileged populations, these workers face many challenges in their day-to-day lives. The challenges may vary according to the area or funding of the programs. Some of these are:

  • Transportation: While these professionals work in their communities, the catchment areas are often far away. Due to the lack of transportation and weak infrastructure, workers have to cover long distances, which increases the traveling time.
  • Medical Resources: The CHW model focuses on providing essential supplies to the underserved populations, including first aid kits, weather survival equipment, internet access cards, etc. However, with restricted funds, it gets difficult to distribute the resources. Also, community workers buy necessary medical supplies from the local supply shops. The problem arises when these supplies run out of stock due to limited funds or an inefficient supply chain.
  • Safety: While traveling to rural areas, sometimes CHWs face difficulties because of adverse weather conditions. Besides, these practitioners may also face safety issues when visiting a patient’s house. Some community health programs don’t provide awareness about personal safety and how to deal with insecure conditions.
  • Medical Records: Due to the poor medical history and limited infrastructure, CHWs don’t have access to patient’s medical records and history. Consequently, this creates obstacles in providing the best care to the patients. At times, these workers find it difficult to connect the patients with healthcare facilities and mental health workers since they don’t have sufficient knowledge about the patient’s past.

Community health workers work tirelessly for the community they live in and serve as a liaison between the healthcare systems and the community. Today, community health workers actively participate in HIV/AIDS treatment programs, chronic diseases management, immunization programs, and improving access to mental health. The ultimate aim of these professionals is to improve health standards and provide quality care services to vulnerable communities. According to BLS, the field will grow by 13% by 2029, demonstrating higher employment opportunities for aspiring individuals. 

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