Management and Supervisory Challenges

< Back Next >

 

CHWs at a conference table.

It should not be assumed that a person with basic supervisory skills, even with advanced clinical background, is qualified or prepared to supervise CHWs effectively as this can be a very challenging task.

Some of these management and supervisory challenges include:

  • “Organizational maturity” required: CHWs do not fit conventional job categories
  • Recruitment and selection: unusual methods needed to find the “right” people
  • Distinctive demands on supervisors of CHWs

 

[SPEAKER]

Given all we have learned about the subtleties of the CHW field, how do organizations manage and supervise CHWs effectively?

One commentator asserts that the employing organization needs to have a certain “organizational maturity” in order to integrate CHWs. As we mentioned earlier, health care administrators often classify their personnel as either clinical or administrative, and CHWs are neither.

Experts on the CHW workforce often advise employers that if they can hire the “right people,” they will be halfway home. It is important to remember that conventional channels may not attract the best candidates. Also, since the occupational identity of CHWs is still developing, many appropriate candidates will not be aware of the occupation or may not view a CHW position as a possible “fit” for them. To find well-suited candidates, an employer may need to present more user-friendly and less bureaucratic-looking job announcements. Many employers report great success using informal recruitment channels, particularly working through recognized community leaders and institutions such as faith communities. The National Community Health Advisor Study has an excellent overview of what employers should look for in CHW candidates.

Employer organizations also must be aware of the distinctive requirements for supervisors of CHWs. It should not be assumed that a person with basic supervisory skills, even with advanced clinical background, is qualified or prepared to supervise CHWs effectively.