CanMEDS Health Advocate
Barriers to Advocacy

Barriers to Advocacy



The Role of Advocate is often the first one we discard when we are feeling overwhelmed or overworked.  Making the telephone call to speed up a referral or going to the pathology lab to find a biopsy result requires extra effort.  It can seem easier to tell the patient that we are still "waiting" for your appointment or results.  In these situations, team work and cooperative colleagues can make a big difference.   Maintaining energy for advocacy work can happen best in a team or group environment.  With the restrictions we face with our health care system, advocacy alone can become a full time job.  Thus, sharing this burden and workload is essential to maintain this Role.

If you seek to be a health advocate at a community or political level the mere fact that you are a resident may be a barrier for you.  You may lack the control of your schedule or the time outside the hospital necessary to engage with this sort of work.




Describe a situation when you wanted to advocate for a patient but could not. What were the barriers that you faced?


How did you reconcile not being able to provide the care that you wanted?


Is advocacy just something we do for patients we like? If you can, describe a time when you have played an advocacy role for a patient who was challenging to deal with.


Does 'the system' (locally and provincially) support physician advocates? Why or why not?


What are some things that you can do to minimize barriers to health advocacy?