Working in the care sector is pretty unique. Your ‘products’ are real human beings with all the emotions, idiosyncrasies and imperfections that entails. But this is what makes the job all the more rewarding – knowing you’re making a difference for someone.
However, before you jump in, there are a few things to consider, particularly if you’ve never been employed as a care worker before. Here’s our quick checklist of what you need to be mindful of to ensure your new job goes just as smoothly as you hope for:
- Be honest about your motivations
Why do you want to become a care worker? Is it because you want to help a vulnerable individual? If so then this is the job for you. If you’re just doing it to fill in time until something better comes along then perhaps you’d be more suited to another sector. Clients need compassion and to feel cared for.
- Clients will love you but not show it
Yes, you know the stereotypical grumpy old man with the heart of gold? Well, he’s possibly your next client. Some people find it difficult to express their gratitude; others just can’t. It doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate your being there and caring for them – as you’ll find out if you’re ever off ill and they’re forced to ‘put up’ with your replacement.
- Policy, processes and paperwork are a key part of performance
Everything is written down and regulated these days – which is no bad thing. It does lead to additional paperwork however. This is necessary though, for continuation of care in the event of an employee moving on or falling ill to allow another carer to pick up where the last carer left off. It also allows the government inspection agency to see that we’re upholding their national standards of care.
- Clients don’t keep confidentiality
Not many people do keep secrets, unless they’re you’re best friend or partner so why should you expect your clients to be any different? Think of them as your work colleagues in this respect and remember how quickly news got round the office.
- Get comfortable with scrutiny
Your clients will ask you personal questions – it’s how you respond that makes the difference. It’s up to you if you feel comfortable sharing personal information with them (but remember the previous bullet point!). You’ll also be regularly assessed on your performance by your manager and inspection agencies are very thorough.
- The team need you and you need the team
When it comes to caring for other individuals as clients, the whole organization is in it together. Sometimes you may end up looking after a colleague’s client; they may do the same for you. There are times too when you need someone to talk to about the job or to ask for advice. Sharing helps and other members of the team – who’ve likely been in the same position themselves – will always be there to provide support.