Individuals who choose to pursue a career in behavioral science or health education aim to serve the public by encouraging others to make healthy choices in their lives, develop programs for the protection of the public, and research disease prevention.
In addition, Health Educators often study human behavior to evaluate what elements of our daily routines contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Behavioral Health Scientists and Health Educators often work side by side or are one and the same because they both require extensive amounts of research and then help educate the general public and patients regarding the ability to live a healthy lifestyle.
For instance, to understand what helps an individual live a healthy lifestyle requires the analysis of their daily routine, their growth and development, statistical data, and other research methods. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle also revolves around having a positive emotional and mental state. Behavioral Health Scientists also evaluate and research psychology, counseling, and sociology topics to ensure that their patients aren’t exposing themselves to unnecessary mental anguish.
Public Health Educators then take all of that research and use it to educate the general populace about the best methods and techniques to live a healthy lifestyle. Public Health Educators work with other healthcare professionals to develop techniques and strategies designed to improve the health of individuals. Collectively, these health strategies help improve communities over time.
Another part of the job description for Health Educators is to report the research findings to relevant healthcare professionals so they can incorporate the new healthcare knowledge in the treatment of their patients. Health Educators and Behavioral Health Scientists are also tasked with evaluating previous knowledge or guidelines and evaluating whether or not those tenants hold true for the future. If the tenants no longer hold true, it’s up to these healthcare professionals to supervise and implement the proper things in place to improve standard programs.
They work in collaboration with policymakers, educators, and other health care professionals in an effort to encourage healthier lifestyles and a more productive public life. This might include attending relevant conferences, conventions, research seminars, or other relevant healthcare research industry gatherings to discuss and promote healthy lifestyles.
Public health professionals must earn a bachelor's degree in fields such as behavioral science, health education, anthropology, or psychology, and many go on to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in public health.
Part of this extensive education is to analyze behavioral health science techniques in addition to understanding how technology is evolving and changing the healthcare career moving forward. For instance, healthcare professionals are increasingly relying on technology to more accurately identify health lifestyle concerns, and take corrective measures to improve a patient’s wellbeing.
The responsibilities of a behavioral scientist or public health professional vary from workplace to workplace. Depending on the role you have in each workplace will ultimately determine the responsibilities you have. Throughout your career as a Behavioral Health Scientist, you might exclusively focus on the study of behavioral health, and how it correlates to healthy living. You might have a role as a public speaker as you present to other healthcare professionals and inform them about current research trends or research studies.
In other roles, you will be asked to provide one-on-one counseling, guidance, and education to patients to help inform them about relevant ways to improve their current lifestyle. Generally speaking, Behavioral Health Scientists and Health Educators have the same set of responsibilities in their role, but the amount of attention will differ in each role.
Their overall concern is generally to protect the public and improve health in a broad sense by researching areas like disease prevention or harmful behaviors and designing plans to educate the public and attack the issue.
Health Educators and Behavioral Health Scientists assess the various needs of the people within their community. Health Educators and Behavioral Health Scientists work hand in hand in evaluating current programs related to health education and develop new ones to tackle the new health challenges that a community is facing. These programs don’t always revolve around local efforts, as these programs or initiatives can also be nationwide.
One good example is the large push across the nation for individuals to cut down on their sugar intake by drinking less carbonated soda. Health Educators and Behavioral Health Scientists might notice that their patient seems to be drinking a lot of carbonated beverages in their regular nutrition, and proceed to educate them about the downfalls of drinking a lot of sugary drinks and guide them into eating and drinking healthier choices.
Health Educators also work closely with the family members of patients. Some of the education and counseling they provide isn’t relegated to healthy lifestyle changes, it might also be related to educating them about upcoming procedures, treatments, medical options, and more. In the event that a patient cannot pursue a certain medical treatment, one of the responsibilities of a Health Educator is to inform them about alternative options at local support groups, medical facilities, health agencies, and other relevant options.
Health Educators and Behavioral Health Scientists are also responsible for guiding people to relevant health information and health services for the challenges they are currently facing. Both healthcare professionals work closely with subordinates who might work more closely with patients on a daily basis.
Behavioral Health Scientists and Health Educators are responsible for providing education and supervision of relevant staff members to ensure that they are providing accurate guidance and education to their patients.
In addition, Behavioral Health Scientists and Health Educators are responsible for collecting data about their local community, healthcare initiative audience, and use this extensive data to improve programs and recommended services to ensure a high adoption rate of the new policies.
Health Educators might also be called upon to educate their co-workers about improving their lifestyle and acting in conjunction with human resource teams to educate the staff of the hospital or healthcare facility. This co-worker education and guidance initiatives also serve to educate other relevant healthcare professionals on how to interact with patients and their family members about delicate topics.
One of the most important responsibilities of a Health Educator and Behavioral Health Scientist is to communicate effectively. Without effective communication, patients and their family members will struggle to understand what is being conveyed to them.
Another key responsibility for Health Educators is to maintain accurate records of their patients so they can track the progress of the healthy living initiatives that are put in place to improve the patient’s well-being.
Each patient has their own unique challenges that they face, and one of the unique challenges associated with being a Behavioral Health Scientist or Health Educator is to come up with a plan to get the individual back to a healthy lifestyle through simple changes in their life. This means that in essence each day you’re going to be solving problems and challenges that arise with each patient. If you enjoy solving problems and tackling challenges each day, then this is the career for you.
A solid knowledge of marketing techniques can also go a long way in spreading important information to the public. The more marking knowledge you have, the easier it will be to spread information about wellness initiatives and educate the public about some of the ways that they can change their lifestyle. In your role as a Behavioral Health Scientist and Health Educator, you will be granted plenty of exposure to marketing activities. The key is that you have to identify which marketing activities will educate the populace the best, and drive conversions around the healthy living lifestyle.
As part of your role as a Behavioral Health Scientist or a Health Educator, you will be receiving additional training regarding marketing as a potential continuing education credit. These credits will help you become more well-rounded in marketing and advertising public health initiatives.
Behavioral Scientists also work to develop and implement public policies in areas like mental health, energy, conservation, and substance abuse and work as consultants with corporations and government entities. Outside health and governmental agencies frequently turn to the expertise of Behavioral Health Scientists and Health Educators.
Other responsibilities these professionals take on include improving the quality of life of seniors, preventing STDs, and reducing and preventing obesity.
There are plenty of activities that you will do day-in and day-out in your role as a Behavioral Health Scientist or Health Educator. Knowing these common activities on the job will offer you a peak into what it’s really like working as a Behavioral Health Scientist or Health Educator each day.
• Strategic Planning and Development
Part of your role as a Behavioral Health Scientist and Health Educator is to also keep a long-term objective perspective. In your role, you will be tasked with identifying key gaps in health wellness, and strategically planning the proper development procedures and guidelines to ensure that the patients under your care and healthcare workers under your supervision follow them.
This will involve creating top-down goals, plans to implement education procedures, and tracking the development of those procedures.
• Design Health Education Information
Once you have developed the goals and plans for the health wellness education, you are then tasked with designing the information to present it in appropriate formats. This might revolve around promotional materials, project plans, presentations, seminars, and more. This part of your daily routine will revolve around how creative you are. If you’re extremely creative, you will enjoy creating new campaigns and initiatives and then designing relevant materials to present to the general public each day.
• Educate The Community
The core thing you will be doing each day as a Health Educator or Behavioral Scientist is to educate the community on various health topics and wellness topics. These tasks might range from basic education to more advanced topics regarding the various health initiatives that are being pushed.
• Researching Effective Marketing Techniques
Part of your role as a Health Educator and Community Health Scientist is to research effective marketing techniques. You will frequently be tasked to operate within a set budget, and you have to identify marketing opportunities that will work within that budget. In addition, you have to identify which marketing opportunities will provide and return better results. Just because you have a large budget, doesn’t mean that you should spend a fortune on things that have a low conversion rate.
Your entire job will revolve around having more people adopt a healthy lifestyle, so you don’t want to spend a fortune on marketing techniques that don’t increase adoption rates of healthy lifestyles.
The more effective marketing techniques that you can use with intelligent budgetary decisions, the better your healthy lifestyle adoption rate will be.
• Promote Heahlthy Living Lifestyles
Similar to educating the public, you will be frequently promoting healthy living lifestyles. This involves implementing the research that you’ve gathered from researching effective marketing techniques. Essentially, this revolves around implementing and using the right marketing technique for the health push that you are responsible for overseeing.
Promoting healthy living lifestyles revolves around knowing which marketing efforts are going to result in the most successful healthy living conversions.
• Interact With Patients
Another common activity that you will have on the job is to interact with patients daily. These interactions might range from short explanations of various treatment procedures, to in-depth conversations about their lifestyle. Part of the interactions with patients will revolve around educating them about the current health initiatives that are in place and ensuring that they are placed on a path to wellness.
• Communicate Effectively
Arguably the most important activity on the job will be communicatnig effectively. Healthcare and various healthcare topics aren’t exactly simple topics for most people. These complex topics will provide an opportunity for you to explain these topics to patients who don’t fully comprehend the topic. In addition, you will have to communicate effectively with the patient’s family members and other relevant healthcare professionals that are important in educating the patient about living a healthy lifestyle.
Another aspect of communicating effectively is to collect all the necessary information from a patient to understand their lifestyle choices, and get an understanding of how comfortable they are with certain topics. Effective communication is critical because you can only design a healthy lifestyle change if you understand some of the things that are contributing to their unhealthy lifestyle.
• Develop Customized Plans for Patients
In your daily routine with patients, you will often be tasked with creating customized plans for patients. These customized plans are going to revolve around their individual needs and track for them to get back to a healthy lifestyle.
These customized plans might range from a change in their nutrition, additional education on foreign topics, or plans to get them on a proper fitness routine.
• Develop Customized Plans for Group-Oriented Goals
Part of your daily routine might also involve creating customized plans for group-oriented goals and health education goals. As healthcare companies and private companies continually seek to improve the overall well-being of their employees, you will be coordinating customized plans that groups can work together to accomplish.
As an example, you could coorinate a group oriented goal of encouraging all RNs in a single department to lose a combined 10 lbs in 2 months. Collective and group-oriented goals help create accountability for individuals to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Part of the task with this common activity on the job will be to make the activity exciting and fun for the group to be interested in participating and hold each other accountable.
• Track Relevant Information and Maintain Medical Records
Arguably your most important common activity that you will do each day is to track relevant information, medical records, and track progress of those patients and groups you’re supervising. Keeping track of the relevant information and medical records of your patients and groups that you’re consulting with is critical to ensuring that they are on the right track, following the recommended guidelines, and their pgoress is being tracked.
In addition, part of your job will be to update the medical records as new information and progress is made.
• Consult With Other Healthcare Professionals
As a Behavioral Health Scientist and Health Educator, you will also consult with other healthcare professionals on a daily basis. You will coordinate closely with superiors, co-workers, and subordinates that you supervise. Your consultations with other healthcare professionals will be to seek outside feedback on recommended guidelines for patients who experience unique circumstances that might affect their wellness goals.
In addition, outside healthcare professionals will consult with you to evaluate how each patient is progressing and determine how it relates to their own care plan for the patient.
Candidates needs to aim for a well-rounded approach to developing their skill set, as behavioral science majors and health educators most often find themselves needed social work and counseling, as well as business acumen, to be the most successful within the field.
Communications and marketing can also both be important for success as many who go into public health find themselves planning and developing campaigns to spread awareness about topics of interest to the public.
The professional settings for a public health professional varies to a great extent. Schools, hospitals, community shelter homes, residential health care facilities and clinics are just some common examples of their work places.
They are known to engage in health care awareness programs in rural and remote areas on a regular basis.
This is one of the few areas of study in which the student can gear their experience and specialty toward a certain goal and find employment in almost any setting.
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