Supporting the Community Health Workers
To maintain the quality of AMIGAS, it is important that you provide community health workers with ongoing support and supervision. Your support will help them do the best job they can. Community health workers need to feel they are making a difference. They need to know that they are helping your program be successful and helping women in your community be healthy.
After community health workers begin to deliver AMIGAS, it’s important to find out how it is going. You will want to create opportunities to share experiences, give them feedback on how they are doing, and work together to solve any problems they encounter. At first, you may want to check in daily or weekly. As community health workers become more experienced, follow-up may occur less often.
Also, you can provide ongoing support for community health workers through education, mentoring, and staff supervision. Recognition and incentives for a job well done are other ways to provide support and encouragement.
Ongoing Education and Resource Updates
Providing ongoing education for community health workers on cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening recommendations will build their confidence in their ability to help women stay healthy. Providing updates on community resources available to women will help community health workers provide information that is current.
Mentoring offers specific, one-on-one learning from a trusted, experienced, respected coworker or supervisor. A good mentor knows the organization and is a good listener. The key to mentoring is a relationship built on trust and two-way communication.
Helping experienced community health workers become better leaders and role models for new community health workers can be very empowering. Mentoring and empowering community health workers can contribute to their personal growth and lifelong learning. This, in turn, can increase their employment opportunities, self-esteem, and status within their communities. Mentoring helps keep the program on track.
Supervisors of community health worker programs have many responsibilities. They include providing initial program orientation, arranging training and continuing education, managing program records, and monitoring performance. A good supervisor needs to be confident that community health workers know their roles and responsibilities. The supervisor can respond to emerging issues with problem-solving sessions or continuing education.
Community health worker supervisors should be able to judge how much monitoring community health workers need. Supervisors usually know each community health worker’s needs and the personal conditions affecting her performance. This knowledge allows supervisors to offer individual attention, training, and support so all community health workers can do their best job.
Recognition and Incentives
We recommend that you find opportunities to recognize and acknowledge community health workers for their contributions. Individual recognition by supervisors can encourage them to continue their good work. Sometimes, it is important that the larger organization or the community recognize community health workers. This can be done to acknowledge major accomplishments, such as the completion of training or successfully meeting recruitment goals. We also encourage you to identify opportunities for community health workers’ family members to understand and appreciate the contributions that community health workers are making in their communities.
Some meaningful recognition and incentives include providing opportunities for professional development, preparing framed certificates of completion, or providing small gifts.