Step 5 – What can I do – Taking action

After having identified the issue (Step 1) and the relevant human rights (Step 2) and having created a structural overview of the known causes (Step 3) and the actors involved (Step 4) the next step is to find out where to start taking action.

It is important that the action decided is feasible and realistic. A small and personal action to generate change is often an easier and better place to start. There is no need to immediately think in terms of projects or programmes. Action leads to reaction, this means that an action can expand; it can start in the individual patient care sphere and extend to the work sphere or even outside the work sphere. How actions develop will be different for each individual depending on different factors including situation, position, abilities, time, financial resources and information.

Complete the questions below to plan for your concrete action and think about what is needed to make it happen.


Which cause can you address?

Look at the map created during Step 3 and select a cause where you can make a difference.

What should change?

Define what should change to improve the situation.

How can you contribute? 

What action do you need to take to start working on improving the situation?

Think small: start with something feasible with a clear outcome.

Consult the overview below for possible actions in the different spheres.


Which actor(s) are involved?

Look at the actor(s) that were identified during Step 4.

  • Do you need them for your action? If so, explore your direct and indirect connections with them.
  • How can you establish contacts when there is no connection?

What is your position? 

Take your professional position into account. Look at the possibilities or constraints your position entails.

  • Are you in a position to accomplish changes by yourself?
  • Are you in a position that you need help from others?
  • Would your position be in danger if you undertake action?
  • Do you need any kind of protection?

What information do you need?

Make a list of the information you need and how or where to collect it.

  • Can you collect the information yourself or do you need help?
  • Which sources are available and accessible?
  • Are there people or organisations who you can ask for help or advice?

Do you have the capacity?

Make an inventory of specific capacities you need for the planned action.

  • Do you have the right skills?
  • Are you willing and in the position to learn new skills?
  • Do you have sufficient time to undertake the action yourself?
  • Do you need human resources?
  • Do you need financial resources?
  • Are you able to arrange this or do you need help?

The answers to these questions indicate what needs to be taken into account when planning action. Concrete examples of different types of action can be found in the overview on the following page. There are countless ways to make a difference as a health worker, just remember that it is a matter of taking time to find out what steps for change fit best.

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