Recognition, mutual respect, and support: A relational approach to training and supervision in community health work
KELLEY M., FANCOURT N.
It is increasingly recognised internationally that community health workers need to be experts in mediating between health facilities and the health needs of their particular communities, requiring interpersonal skills to balance the ethical, medical or physiological health issues, and the community dynamics. For this relational expertise to flourish, a culture of recognition, mutual respect and support is essential between the community health workers, other health professionals, and the community. A relational pedagogy for training and supervision is outlined to address some key values: mutual respect and recognition; shared decision-making and solidarity; relational agency and empowerment; fairness and inclusion; and shared advocacy. We argue that explicitly putting these values foremost in training and practice will equip community health workers with appropriate strategies to develop and sustain their relational expertise.