Often described as a calling, care work is a noble and selfless profession that requires plenty of dedication. It takes a particular set of skills and characteristics to succeed, traits that are often found in those who can derive genuine passion from the role.
You’ll need to possess the desire to tend to the needs of society’s most vulnerable, promoting dignity and independence whilst simultaneously preventing loneliness and isolation. In short, your goal is to prioritise your service users and make a real difference in the lives of others.
And whether you’re looking to become a care worker on a long or short-term basis, you must deliver an excellent standard of care with a real professionalism and enthusiasm for your role.
Is becoming a care worker right for you?
If you’re keen to become a care worker, try this simple test. Picture yourself as a care worker attending to a service user. You’ve never met this client before and only have a page of notes to refer to. Do you;
A) Treat the individual in your care with the same respect you’d bestow upon a cherished grandparent or elderly neighbour, attending to their needs with genuine passion, irrespective of the complexity of their situation?
B) Turn up, get the job done as quickly as possible and move on?
If you answered A, becoming a care worker might be a career path to consider. You clearly have the right mindset to care for others and, whilst it’s a route that may seem difficult at times, the rewards are well worth the work you put in. Read on to discover more.
And for those who answered B… well, you can maybe stop reading, becoming a care worker isn’t for you.
The roles of a care worker
As a care worker, it’s your duty to provide support and improve the lives of service users in your care; these service users may include children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or learning difficulties.
You’ll need to assist them with a range of everyday tasks, such as dressing, feeding and washing, while a range of more physical tasks may be necessary, like shopping and cooking. More specific needs may also need attending to.
You’ll work closely with the service user and their family to outline their particular needs and develop a comprehensive care plan. Some clients may be suffering from a range of complications, which could result in more detailed care plans being needed.
No matter what level of care is required, it’s important to remember that those in your care are human beings who deserve empathy and kindness. Showing a client respect and helping to maintain their dignity is paramount to a care worker's role. Consider how you’d feel if you were in their situation and how you’d like a care worker to treat you.
What skills and qualities do I need to become a care worker?
When it comes to being an excellent care worker, there’s no magic formula. Equally, it’s not a profession which can be entered into half-heartedly. Becoming a care worker requires your commitment and effort as those in your care are often very vulnerable.
As a care worker, you must possess a number of skills and characteristics, these include:
- Compassion and empathy
- Excellent communication skills
- A friendly and approachable manner
- Patience and sensitivity
- An ability to work calmly under pressure
- A problem-solving nature
- An ability to quickly establish relationships with service users and their families
It’s also important to show a true passion for the work you’re undertaking. Demonstrating a genuine desire to help those in your care should allow you to forge more meaningful relationships.
Of course, you shouldn’t feel discouraged if the effort you're making isn’t initially appreciated. Some relationships may take time to build, while others may never truly blossom. The important thing is to allow your passion to shine through regardless of the treatment you are delivering. Be encouraged by the fact that someone who cares for them will value your efforts.
What our recruiters look for in a care worker
To gain a greater understanding of what our recruiters look for in a care worker, we spoke to Andrea, Ioana and Natalie, members of our highly valued Homecare Recruitment team. They reveal more about the qualities they look for in potential new recruits and offer advice to anyone considering becoming a care worker.
What are the main attributes you look for in a carer?
Andrea: “A caring attitude, the desire and passion to want to help others. It’s not always about the experience but an individual’s attitude towards the care sector.”
Ioana: “Empathy, good listening skills, patience and the right attitude towards the job.”
Natalie: “I look for care workers who are passionate, respectful and have plenty of empathy. They must be reliable, caring, patient and observant too.
“I also look for people who have a vision for making a difference in the lives of our service users and do everything that they can to deliver outstanding care.”
Why do you think it’s important we recruit the right people?
Andrea: “To provide long-standing careers and consistency for our service users.”
Ioana: “It’s vital to recruit the right people because the care workers act as the face of the company in the community. And they care for vulnerable people on a one-to-one basis.”
Natalie: “It’s so important to recruit the right people for the job as we’re dealing with people’s health. We have to make sure that the care workers we recruit understand the importance of their role.”
If you could give one piece of advice to a new care worker, what would it be?
Andrea: “It’s a hard job, both physically and mentally, but it’s important to remember that you’ll be supported throughout your career by your recruiter. It’s a role that’s so rewarding for you and your services users.”
Ioana: “Breathe and count to 10. Patience is a virtue in general, but even more so for a care worker.
“A care worker’s job isn’t easy and I think sometimes we get so passionate about what we do, we forget to take a step back, breathe, and care for ourselves as well. We can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves.”
Natalie: “Be kind to yourself; it’s okay to have a bad day. You’re never alone as we’re always here to help.”
What do you love about working in care recruitment?
Andrea: “I love seeing the passion in people and their desire to help others.”
Ioana: “I love my job because I actually get to make a difference to the quality of care that’s out there.”
Natalie: “I really enjoy recruiting amazing, quality care workers and placing them into homes for the vulnerable. I have a real passion for finding the right people for the job.”
“I’m always keen to make sure they get the right care as I cared for my mum in her final days.”
What have you learnt working in this industry?
Andrea: “There are so many amazing people who want to help those less fortunate. The passion I hear in people’s responses to my questions is just amazing at times. The world really is a better place with these people in it.”
Ioana: “After two-and-a-half years of healthcare recruitment, I can safely say that nothing is guaranteed. I’ve learned not to relate too much, as even though people might experience the same things, they deal with them and acknowledge things differently. I’ve learned that experience is not everything and that good work ethic comes from the top.”
Natalie: “I have learnt that organisation is the key in this industry.”
Find out more
If you feel you have what it takes to become a care worker with Medacs Healthcare, contact us to learn more. Simply browse and apply to our latest jobs and a member of our dedicated team will be in touch to take you through the recruitment process.