What Does A Health Educator Do?
Teaching residents about health and wellness, encouraging them to practice healthy lifestyle practices and pointing them to appropriate health resources—all these are part and parcel of the work that health educators do each day. Together with community health workers who gather data on the populations they serve, health educators analyze and determine the needs of the communities and find solutions for them. They also use the information gathered about their clients to improve the existing health services available in the area.
Health teaching forms a major part of their work. They don’t only teach people health topics, they also teach those who are sick ways to manage any illnesses they have. They also train community health workers on the different programs that they will be carrying out in their respective communities. The specific type of teaching and the clients that they will be handling vary depending on where they work. For instance, health educators who are employed by public health departments are responsible for administering public health campaigns on various topics that affect the general population. These include lectures on proper nutrition, the importance of immunizations, ways to manage stress and steps to undertake to prepare for emergencies.
Health educators who are connected with nonprofit organizations usually focus their lectures on topics that are relevant to the populations they serve. If they are working with teenage mothers, for example, their health teachings would focus on how to feed, bathe and care for their babies. For health educators employed by private businesses, the focus is different. They work together with managers to develop programs to promote health and wellness among their employees. These include giving incentives to those who are able to keep their weight at healthy levels. They may also make recommendations about how to promote a healthy lifestyle at work, such as by establishing a gym within the office building for those who want to exercise during their break time or just blow off steam when the workload becomes too much.
Health educators are also employed by healthcare facilities like hospitals and doctor’s clinics. They typically do one-on-one teaching with patients regarding the diagnosis they have been given and inform them about the laboratory tests as well as the treatment that they will have to undergo. In addition, they guide them on matters related to their health insurance claims as well as lead them to explore other resources and support groups for their condition. It is also part of their job to come up with programs that provide training to medical personnel so they can effectively engage clients. For instance, health educators may be asked to provide training to physicians on how to explain a dangerous surgical operation.
To be able to teach and train people effectively, health educators also develop different materials and resources. These can include visual, audio, electronic and print materials. They are also responsible for coming up with various campaigns to be able to disseminate the information to more people. They may also undertake research and write about their findings in various journals and books. Finally, they also serve as advocates for issues related to health and safety.