A Day in the Life
What’s a health educator’s role and why is it important?
It’s hard for teens to talk to their parents about a lot of things — especially reproductive health. But sometimes they need someone to talk to that they can trust. I remember what that was like. And it’s why I wanted to be that trusted person for teens in my community.
Being a community health advocate is like being a health educator. I spend a lot of one-on-one time with patients. I counsel them on reproductive health, like how to have healthy relationships and prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
How did you get your first health educator job?
Community service has always been an important part of my life. During college, I got an internship at a clinic serving Asian-American teens. And as soon as a position opened for a community health advocate, I was offered a job right away.
What does it take to be a good health educator?
It’s important to be nonjudgmental, caring and a good listener. Try volunteering at a clinic or a hospital to see if you like and are good at working with patients.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Working to build strong relationships with my patients. For example, I had a patient who was pregnant, and I helped by calling her to answer her questions and make sure she went to her doctor appointments. She understands that taking care of herself is part of being a mom, and I’m happy I helped her learn how to do that.
As a health educator, you never know what to expect each day, except that you’ll learn something new from the patients you serve. And at the end of the day, it feels really good to be that trusted person in someone’s life.
What’s most challenging?
Not every patient is a success story. I work with a lot of high-risk patients, like teens who are in abusive relationships or having unsafe sex. Sometimes I ask myself, am I doing something wrong? But part of my job is accepting that I can’t help everyone. My colleagues and I try to learn from those experiences so we can try something different next time.