7 Basic Roles and Responsibilities of a Health Educator



7 Basic Roles and Responsibilities of a Health Educator


A health educator is a trained professional who works with groups in community settings or with individuals to help them understand how to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Part of the role is assessing the needs within a community and developing programs to meet those needs, and then educating that community on how to address unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. 

A Health Educator… is professionally prepared and possesses knowledge and skills based upon theories and research to promote health education behavior change in individuals and populations.

Health Education draws from various sciences to promote health and prevent disease, disability, and premature death. Health educators provide information on health and health related issues.
They can assess health training needs and plan health education programs. They may specialize according to specific health concerns, illnesses, or work or training setting. 

Health educators may work as independent consultants or in health departments, community organizations, businesses, hospitals, schools, or government agencies.

Health Educators often:

· Design and develop health education programs.

· Perform health training needs assessments.

· Publish health education materials, information papers, and grant proposals.

· Develop health education curricula.

· Teach health in public and private schools.

In this article, you learn more about what a health educator does, the skills you need to be an effective health professional, Functions of Health Educations (What Trained Health Educators Do) and Job Opportunities and Career Prospects for Health Education Graduates in Nigeria.

 


7 Basic  Roles and Responsibilities of a Health Educator

7 Basic Roles and Responsibilities of a Health Educator


The following are the core responsibilities of health educator as laid out by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing; health educators have seven primary responsibilities.

Those are as follows:

1. Assess Needs, Resources, and Capacity for Health Education/Promotion: When working to improve the health of a community, the first step is to assess the health needs of that community.

You will look for areas where health is suffering due to a lack of health knowledge and/or poor practices. Then, you will assess the availability of resources with which to better educate the community.

Are there proven programs or methods that can help you? Once you’ve made these assessments, the final step is to determine what modes of communication will work best for your community.

For instance, if you’re dealing with a community where illiteracy is an issue, you’ll need to communicate in ways that do not require reading, such as by using visual aids.

2. Plan Health Education/Promotion: Once you have identified the health needs of your community and how best to communicate health knowledge, you have to put together a plan. You’ll want to consider budgets, the attitudes of stakeholders, timelines, government regulations, and overall feasibility. Your goal is to overcome existing obstacles to reach as many people in your community as possible.

3. Implement Health Education/Promotion: After putting in the work to develop a strong program, you can then go out into your community and provide the education the community needs to improve its overall health and address health-related needs of the community.

This phase can be highly rewarding as you will develop practitioner skills by working with various populations and applying behavior change principles. Monitoring program effectiveness and managing its execution are required tools to implement a successful health promotion intervention and/or program.

4. Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education/Promotion: As a health educator, your responsibilities extend beyond the implementation of a health education or promotion program.

You must also be able to evaluate your program as well as any other programs, projects, or policies you’re involved in. This means you must understand proper evaluation methodology and have realistic, measurable objectives.

You can use tests, surveys, observation, medical data, and other facts and figures to conduct an evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete, you are expected to share the results with the wider heath education and promotion community to help improve future efforts.

5. Administer and Manage Health Education/Promotion: If you’ve developed a health education or promotion program, it’s likely you will be running that program. That’s why health educators must be good managers, capable of performing administrative tasks, supervising staff, and working with community stakeholders.

6. Serve as a Health Education/Promotion Resource Person: As a health educator, you’re expected to make yourself available to answer community health questions and help that community understand and address health concerns.

As such, you need to know where to find accurate health information, how to assess the appropriateness of that information for your community, and how to successfully communicate that information.

7. Communicate, Promote, and Advocate for Health, Health Education/Promotion, and the Profession: Not everyone understands the importance of health educators or the role they can play in improving local, national, and global health.

As a health educator, you have the responsibility to support and promote the profession to others and to work with those in your profession to maintain standards and achieve health education and promotion goals.


What skills do you need to be successful as a health educator?

Health educators hone a variety of skills from interpersonal to organizational to technical. To land a health educator job, work on gaining and improving the following skills and qualities:

·  Communication (written and verbal)

·  Problem-solving

·  Critical thinking

·  Cultural and diversity awareness

·  Patience and empathy

·  Public speaking

·  Teaching 

·  Time management 

·  Organization and prioritization 

·  Computer skills (internet, database, and relevant software)

·  Leadership

·  Understanding cultural diversity

·  Ability to speak an additional language 

 

Functions of Health Educations (What Trained Health Educators Do)

Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They are change agents (positive behavior change)

They also:

1.  Teach health education in schools

2.  Assess individual and community needs

3.  Plan health education programs

4.  Develop health education programs

5.  Coordinate health education programs

6.  Implement health education programs

7.  Manage health education programs and personnel

8.  Evaluate health education programs

9.  Write grants

10.  Build coalitions

11.  Identify resources

12.  Make referrals

13.  Develop social marketing and mass media campaigns

14.  Organize/mobilize communities for action

15.  Handle controversial health issues/content

16.  Advocate for health-related issues

17.  Encourage healthy behavior

18.  Use a variety of education/training methods

19.  Develop audio, visual, print and electronic materials

20.  Conduct research

21.  Write scholarly articles.


Job Opportunities and Career Prospects for Health Education Graduates in Nigeria

 

1. Specialist Careers in Health Education:

(a) Certified Education Specialist: The certified health educational master, or CHES, works to assist patients in progressing their everyday health and quality of life through healthcare-related instructive programs. Whereas their work is just as centered on the entire community as that of other masters.

The healthcare education professionals have more centers intelligent with individual people in traditional clinical situations, in this way, making the world a better place, one individual per time.

(b) Healthcare Information Analyst: The information analyst works with healthcare providers to raise broadly-focused educational campaigns. Their work is vital to distinguishing existing, far-reaching issues in clinical healthcare settings, as well as in pinpointing current deficiencies in existing open mindfulness activities.

Whereas they may take part effectively in specific outreach programs, their part is fundamentally within the gathering and examination of essential data. For that reason, they may plan overviews, surveys, and interviews, as well as program planning, to assemble vital information over time.

(c) Community Promotion Specialist: This specialization, inside the entire field of healthcare and open mindfulness, centers basically on general community mindfulness. Their community may be an expansive association, a government body, a metropolitan range, or a few other comprehensive statistics; ordinarily, it incorporates thousands of different people unless their center is on a specific racial, ethnic, or other narrowly defined statistics. 

The objective of the CHPS position is to collate and examine healthcare-related data, report on their findings, and plan campaigns to assist the foremost fundamental data reach the whole community.

(d) Product Development Specialist: The corporate world offers expanding opportunities for healthcare educational and promotional experts. One of the foremost sweeping career opportunities accessible to the public with this capability is that of the item improvement master. They incorporate a vast extend of obligations, but what it sums to in a nutshell could be a two-pronged approach to open wellness: the specialist helps within the design process, decreasing potential health dangers, and is additionally capable for creating materials relating to the right utilize of an item or service.

(e) Healthcare Promotional Specialists (HPS): A promotional specialist is something of a general practitioner within this profession's range of careers, and who they interact with in terms of how they associate as well as who they connect with. A few may work with huge associations or other communities, whereas others might take a patient-by-patient approach. They tend to center on specific areas of concern. There are HPS professionals who concentrate on a wide range of growing concerns today, from the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to contagious viral organisms, to dental problems in children within a particular county or state.

2. Other Careers include;

(a) Health educator in schools (primary, secondary and universities)

(b) Community development worker

(c) Further education teacher

(d) Health service manager

(e) Health Counselor


Read: Historical Background of Health Education

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