An experienced clinical RN who is passionate about patient centered advocacy. She/He has a strong clinical knowledge base and a desire to guide people to their best healthcare outcomes as well as to empower people in their own healthcare.
Are there different types of RN based Patient Advocates?
- Independent RN Patient Advocates who include Integrative and Functional Medicine paradigms along with Conventional Western Medicine
- Independent RN Patient Advocates who practice within the guidelines of Conventional Western Medicine
- RN prepared Patient Advocates who work within the health insurance industry or in institutional settings
How much can I earn?
Independent RN based Patient Advocates typically earn $100-$200 per hour.
Hospital or insurance based Patient Advocates earn the community standard in the industry or institution where they are employees.
Do I need additional educational preparation?
To work in the institutional or insurance settings, an RN must be oriented to the parameters of the role into which she/he is stepping and the regulatory environment therein.
To become an independent practice Patient Advocate, an RN can simply begin a practice, establishing one’s own guidelines and procedures.
However, independent practice is an form of entrepreneurship and one should prepare oneself accordingly. There are different preparatory programs and excellent business support through National Nurses in Business membership.
It is highly recommended that availing oneself of an educational program before establishing a practice will be of great benefit. Learn from others and avoid the pitfalls that they have overcome.
There are different preparatory programs. All but one do not require you to be an RN. There is one educational program that admits only experienced clinical RNs.
What is the start-up cost?
This depends upon what type of practice you choose. Working for an institution or within the healthcare industry requires no start up cost.
If you choose to be an independent patient advocate, the cost of the preparatory class must be taken into account. On top of that, there are business expenses including malpractice insurance, business licenses and insurance, tech tools, office costs (materials and equipment), and marketing. Should you choose this path, typically working part time in your current position will enable you to establish your patient advocacy practice effectively financially.
What are the advantages of employee based patient advocacy as compared to independent patient advocacy practice?
Independent: You establish the parameters and processes of your own practice and are in sole charge of the care you provide. There are no institutional politics involved. This is a very intense and creative practice wherein you have the opportunity to do what you know will ensure the best healthcare outcomes for your client. You have the ability to work within all healthcare settings as well as within your community at large.
Employee based: You do not have to establish the parameters and processes of your practice or do any marketing or business establishment procedures. You receive a paycheck and employee benefits.
What legal form should an independent Patient Advocacy practice establish?
An LLC is the most beneficial tax wise for a start up solo practice. In most states, you can set this up yourself through the state corporation commission for a few hundred dollars.
Does this field have a future?
Short answer: Yes! This is a burgeoning field that is a direct and creative professional response to the ever-worsening problems in the medical/industrial complex today. There are a few national organizations that serve as various support systems for patient advocates: Greater National Advocates, Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, National Association of Healthcare Advocacy, and the National Network of RN Patient Advocates.