Empowering Healthcare Volunteer's through Participatory Action Research in a Comprehensive Healthcare Center
Background: healthcare volunteers act as the link between the society and the healthcare system and are a symbol of people's participation in the health maintenance and promotion. Despite the important role of health volunteers in the health system, it seems they experience several problems. The aim of this study was empowering health volunteers by determining and relining their problems through a participatory approach.Methods: This study a participatory action research was done through two
... done through two continuous cycles of reflection and acting for change over 20 months, in A comprehensive health center in Southern of Fars province in Iran.25 health volunteers, two instructors, and academic researcher as facilitator participate in this study. In the first cycle, the participants discovered the challenges of health volunteers prioritized them and an action plan was designed. Immersion and implementation of the plans were done. At the end of this cycle evaluation was done with the participants' cooperation. The second cycle began with reflecting on the results of the first cycle and final evaluation was done. Results: Qualitative content analysis in the first phase led to the emergence of four major categories, including inefficiency of volunteers training, inefficiency of attraction and maintenance of volunteers, and being unknown to people and the major theme was named "unfertilized capacity". After the implementation of the operational plan, the participants learned through reflection and immersing in action. Finally, quantitative content and data analysis showed improvement of knowledge and performance, satisfaction, effectiveness of programs and improvement in volunteer's competence.Conclusions: Clarification of volunteers' roles, supporting volunteers to improve their knowledge and skills with coherent planning based on their educational needs, are appropriate management plans to attract and retain volunteers. By presenting their services to the society, they will be empowered and motivated to continue.