How to Become a Professional Caregiver

November 28, 2016

Caring for an elderly or ailing person is a very challenging and at the same time fulfilling task. However, all people who decide to dedicate their life to this humane profession are very well aware that it’s no picnic. Still, the urge to help others and make their lives easier is a caregiver’s primary concern. Some people decide to become caregivers after their own personal experience of looking after a sick, elderly or disabled family member. Apart from any potential previous experience and goodwill, a person who wants to pursue a career in caregiving has to get the required qualifications. Here are the things you should know before you decide.

Why?

This is the most important question that you should ask yourself. It’s really noble and endearing when somebody wants to help others, but sometimes people overestimate their own potentials and capabilities. This doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be able to perform this job, but there’s more than just mere helping those people get through the day. This job involves a lot of bonding and building trust, and there’s a lot at stake here. In other words, you have to reflect on your motivations before you definitely make up your mind.

Give It a Try

The best way to see if you’ve got what it takes to become a professional caregiver is to have a conversation with some of them. They’ll be able to give you an objective and comprehensive insight into how it is to perform this job on a daily basis. Moreover, volunteering at a care facility offers an essential experience for anybody who wants to be in this line of work. Regardless of what you decide in the end, volunteering will enrich your life on many levels as despite being overwhelming at times, caregiving is something utterly rewarding.

Salary

It’s true that this is a profession suitable only for empathic people, but material compensation is still something that has to be taken into consideration. Since this is a very demanding job, the salary has to be satisfactory. Bear in mind that entry level caregivers make less money. On the other hand, anybody who opts for this kind of job surely isn’t mainly interested in a six-figure salary.   

Take a Course

A proper training and adequate qualifications are mandatory if you want to apply for a caregiving job. This doesn’t mean that a degree is a necessary requirement. A good idea would be to browse through a list of local facilities and find a good and reliable home care agency where you’d like to start working, and see what sets of skills and qualifications they require, and based on that find courses or a training that will make you eligible for that particular job.

Pass the Competency Exam

Some facilities don’t require passing a competency test, but many do and it’s always a good idea to have that certificate as well. It will give you more possibilities when it comes to applying for a job. This test is comprehensive and its main objective is to check whether a candidate is fit to work as a caregiver. As this job can be stressful and demanding, it’s of vital importance that only people who can perform all duties and tasks required by it are recruited.

What’s next?

After you’ve finished your training and passed the competency exam, you can start looking for a job. When you start working, there are also several things that you have to be aware of. Caring for a sick or disabled person means that, besides performing regular activities that ensure their physical well-being, you’ll also have to be very careful and thoughtful when it comes to some emotional and psychological issues. First of all, respect the person in your care and make sure that you treat them in ways that preserve their dignity. Always respect their privacy and the right to make choices. Remember that your clients are in a delicate situation and that on top of all their medical issues, they have to adapt to the fact that a stranger is taking care of them and invading their privacy.

Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Watching other people suffer is very stressful. When you work as a caregiver you are exposed to various situations that can lead to depression and burnout. It can be very frustrating when you can’t help people in pain, or when you watch them fade away without being able to do anything about it. Guilt is also a frequent problem. Make sure to protect your own health. If you notice signs of depression or anxiety, get professional help. Still, there are ways of coping with everyday stress at work that you can do on your own. Don’t neglect your own wellbeing and take care of yourself because without that you won’t be able to properly care for others.

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