My experience in Americorps has promoted self growth and aided me in being able to help promote growth in others. Learning my role as a Patient Navigator has enabled me to delve into the myriad of resources that help integrate people into more functional lifestyles. My journey has opened my eyes to the systems put into place to aid those in need of housing, food, transportation services, and care coordination. As someone who is college educated, having an understanding of these systems has helped me to realize how important it is to advertise the systems and the resources they offer further, in order to make sure that people have the necessary tools to sustain healthy lives.
Promoting food resources such as Produce to People or the food pantries around Pittsburgh has been an important facet in my role as a Patient Navigator. These programs are vital in providing supplemental healthy food for those with food insecurity. Care coordination is also important with getting patients to the right place for their health needs. This is a broad category ranging from getting hospital care to nutrition and diabetes counseling. Transportation services are also imperative with care coordination by providing transportation to and from doctors appointments. Finally, those that are seeking to get out of homelessness can be referred to shelters, personal care homes, diversion acute stabilization, three quarter housing, and general housing.
Knowledge of these services is beneficial not only in a clinical environment but also outside of it. Having the knowledge or resources can be beneficial in casual conversations with friends or colleagues in order to spread the knowledge on these programs. Armed with this knowledge walking in the streets of Pittsburgh I have had several discussions with people regarding services that are in need. I believe being able to connect those in need to overlooked resources is imperative in sustaining healthy lives.