The responsibilities, skills and knowledge required of the health education specialist, described above, can be carried out in many different ways depending on the setting and the needs of the institution, consumers or community.
- The education specialist may function as a consultant to other health professionals or to a community. For example, s/he may work with public health nurses in setting up an educational program in a clinic for mothers and infants; or with physicians and nurses in a cardiac care unit developing materials for patients' families. Or s/he may function as a member of a public health or medical care team in a hospital or clinic. For example, a team for educating diabetic patients could include a physician, nurse, dietitician and a health educator; or a public health team concerned with pollution of a river could include an environmentalist, a toxicologist, a public health physician and a health educator. Or the health educator may be the only health professional working with a community to help the community understand the need for draining small pools of stagnant water, and devise a plan with the ocmmunity for doing so.
- As the definition of health education suggests, the primary role of the health education specialist is to facilitate the learning process and help the individual or community to make informed decisions about health/ disease issues. The health educator, therefore, never works alone but always together with individuals, groups or communities to assist them in dealing with health/disease issues and to facilitate their learning.