How do you encourage the public to quit a bad habit like smoking or drinking too much alcohol? Bachelor of Health Promotion graduate and 30 Minutes a Month participant Luke Giles takes us through what it’s like in his shoes, as a Health Promotion Officer.
The first thing I do when I start work is
I turn on my computer and check what is booked in for the day. There might be meetings, particular jobs to be done, or deadlines coming up that I plan my day around.
The three activities I am most likely to do in a day are
- have a meeting to discuss progress or a piece of work.
- communicate with a colleague or project partner by phone or email.
- work on documents as part of planning, implementing, or evaluating a project.
Something people might not realise I do is
Most people are not all that aware of my job. My colleagues and I generally must explain to people what health promotion is and what we do. Generally, we refer to well-known health promotion initiatives such as quit smoking advertisements or tobacco taxation as examples.
Something I did not think I would be doing as a Health Promotion Officer is
So much research. It is a very large part of health promotion work as we innovate and continually improve in ways to improve the health of populations.
Something I did think I would be doing is
Getting out and about with the community I’m working with. This is an enjoyable part of the job, but unfortunately it is something that has been scaled back with COVID-19.
Something students who are considering being a Health Promotion Officer need to think about is
That it is a very tight job market with not a lot of employment opportunities. This is something that I didn’t know as I started studying health promotion at uni. I have been very fortunate to have work in the field from the time that I finished studying, which I am very thankful for.
I found that it was great to get practical experience in health promotion as part of my university placement. This gave me validation that I had made a good choice of career, while also giving me the opportunity to put into practice what I had learned during my studies. You could also do this through volunteering.
Something I wish I knew about being a health promotion officer is
Things can be slow. The field is fairly resource scarce, and the nature of behaviour change is that it takes a long time to impact – you feel like you are in for a long haul.
The best bit about my job is
That it is rewarding, challenging and (usually) interesting. While it is sometimes difficult to evaluate health, promotion work in terms of big picture health improvements, it’s great to enjoy the little wins and achievements along the way.
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