What does being a care worker mean to you? It might be long hours, challenging illnesses, or the reward of knowing what a difference you make to a person’s life. But whatever else it may be, you’ll know you’re a care worker when…
You know what it means to have someone really trust you.
Being able to communicate with other people is important in any job, but never more so than when you’re a care worker. Most people that need care are going through a difficult experience and can feel traumatised or confused, finding it difficult to understand what is happening and mistrustful of the people caring for them. It takes time to build strong bonds with your patients and service users and more importantly, to get them to trust you.
You’re not afraid to speak your mind
Being a care worker isn’t for the faint-hearted. As advocates for their charges, a care worker needs to speak up about what’s best for that person, potentially to a number of people and even the person themselves. If you’re a care worker, chances are you’re not the shy and retiring type. You’ll likely be bold, level headed and confident in voicing your opinion.
Patience of a saint
…isn’t just a catchphrase for you. As one of the most important qualities a care worker can possess, there’s not much that makes you lose your temper, even if things get frustrating, complicated or a little bit tough.
Flat shoes are your friend
You know you’re a care worker when you automatically reach for the most comfortable, sensible pair of shoes you can find before each shift. A pair of heels might look great, but when you spend 12 hours on your feet, they’re not the most sensible choice. Long periods of walking, moving equipment or manoeuvring a patient means your body is put under a lot of wear and tear. You know that your feet, back, knees and pretty much every other body part will thank you for this choice down the line.
You know the true meaning of empathy
When your charges are experiencing things that most people will never have to deal with, being a care worker teaches you the true meaning of empathy, which influences how you react to a certain situation. Yes, a dementia patient might be challenging, rude or even aggressive, but you try to understand what it must be like to feel confused or lost as you deal with the situation.
You’re immune to bodily functions
Making the tea and cleaning up body fluids might only be a very small part of what a care worker does, but it’s still the least glamourous part of the job. But whether it’s mopping up sick or wiping someone’s bottom, as a care worker you’ll have dealt with bodily functions enough times to become immune to most accidents. But more than that, you’ll have the compassion to carry out such tasks – things that most people take for granted at being able to do this for themselves – in as dignified a way as possible.
You have a sense of humour
Talking about bodily fluids, it’s impossible to deal with poo as part of your job role without a little bit of humour. There’s no getting around the fact that a career in care is emotionally taxing and care workers deal with some exceptionally upsetting cases.
Providing light-hearted moments for your charges and their families is important for them as well as you, helping you to balance out the seriousness of your daily responsibilities.
You’ll never feel more worthwhile
For most care roles it’s not about what academic qualifications you have, or years of experience. It’s not about the fact you can play three instruments, or were captain of the hockey team at school. Being a care worker is about how patient you are, how tolerant and how much understanding and generosity you can show towards people who really need your help. It’s a job that can be emotionally demanding, physically exhausting, frustrating, difficult and underappreciated.
But it’s a rare thing to be able to say that you genuinely make a difference to someone’s life every day and there aren’t many career paths where you’ll feel so worthwhile. You’ll know you’re a care worker when you realise how vital you are to our health system and how many people in that system depend on you.
Not a care worker yet, but think you have what it takes and want to relate to the above? Check out our latest job listings and get your application in, or contact our team today to learn more about what a career in care could look like. Already a care worker? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us what the most rewarding part of your job is.