Whether the care you provide is for older people or specific care such as autism and other special and additional needs care, if you are a stay-at-home care provider, any career-specific advice will be essential for your career development.
Care work is one of the most difficult career options or sectors to navigate and has often been referred to as a vocation rather than a job or career. It is also increasingly difficult for those who are caring for their own family members to turn this care into a full-time profession. Furthermore, even as a profession, it is not overly clear as to the career path that can be followed and how to make this essential service worth your while.
This article will provide you with noticeably clear ideas for a career in care.
How to use the internet for self and career development
The internet must be the first port of call as it will be for the growth and development of many other careers. The information and insights provided herein are specific for caregivers and based on the fact that it is, in truth, a forgotten profession. However, the internet and the numerous and varied resources now available for caregivers have seen a remarkable rise in the professionalization of the care industry.
There are a number of short courses that caregivers should note as the important steppingstones for a career in care. First aid is one of these and can now be accessed online from a number of recognized providers. It will be worth starting with the basics as it doesn’t have to be first aid for severe trauma or advanced first aid, and the aim should be to capacitate yourself to be able to deal with the minimum level of first aid and care for those that you look after. Not all care work is for those who have chronic medical issues, but this is a skill that we should all have, and as such, first aid tops the list of relevant short courses for the caregivers out there.
There are also specific care courses linked to the online first aid course options, and the advice would be to check the brochures carefully and ensure that the first aid course can be linked to what it is you do. The specific caregiver courses will enlighten and teach you how to deal with your particular care client niche, i.e., elderly, chronic illness, young, adult, and so on. It will also improve your confidence in the care that you provide.
Manual handling is another of the short courses that many carers find useful. It will provide a detailed background and understanding of how to lift, move, and shift heavy items in a way that doesn’t compromise your own health. The course will also include the use of machines and assisted movement for people in your care. These are skills that anyone working in care will need to have.
Meditation and mindfulness are two aspects of care work that have come to the fore in that these are useful skills to deal with the stresses of the job. Being able to take one step at a time and also remain calm throughout is essential for a career in care.
Tailored and bespoke career development
The internet will allow you to pick and choose the specific aspects of your career that you aim to improve. Care work is a wide-ranging profession, from looking after children as an au pair to caring for those with specific medical and health needs, as well as elderly and palliative care. You can thus choose something that appeals to you and then look to specialize in this area. Seek courses that speak to this chosen specialization and will serve to develop your career in this specific direction. Children’s care, safeguarding, dementia care, and specific areas of wellbeing are all areas that can be specialized in.
Care home needs and the areas in which they are employing should guide your career decisions and any planning that you do, but areas such as food safety and hygiene, equality and diversity, and safeguarding children and adults will also be able to be used in a number of other professions but will give you a specific care angle to promote and develop your career in care.
Self-help guides and personal development
The wide variety of self-help guides and shortened ways to improve with simple tips and tricks abound online. These self-help guides and simple reading and research may not be accredited, and there may not be a recognized certificate that you get, but sometimes it’s these pearls of wisdom that serve best to develop the self. How to remain calm under pressure, learning a new hobby, and even joining caregiver chat groups and forums for advice has been the redeeming quality for many a care worker or care provider.
Learn the market
The internet offers a wide range of training products, advice, tips, and guides. The care profession has also invested a great deal to provide resources and advice for those in the sector or looking to enter the sector, and as such, this is a good starting point to get an idea of what is trending and the needs and likely future of the profession.
Trending related careers
There are a number of specific careers that care providers can look at in terms of a move sideways or a move upwards.
Care management and administration: Having worked in care and looked after others, it will be a short and seamless process to move into the administration or management of such care. There may be a need for a little additional training, and again this can be accessed online, and there are now specific care-related admin and management training that will allow you to move off the front line of care and possibly even start your own business.
Nursing is the first logical step as it’s useful to have qualifications related to what you do. Furthermore, the growing demand on a global level for nurses means that a qualification in this sector will be an investment in your future. Again, as mentioned above, if nursing is something that you are already qualified in, then it may be time to enter the debate as to whether it’s the MSN vs DNP that you should be studying. Taking your existing nursing qualifications to the next level will allow you to both provide a higher quality of care to your clients and improve career and financial reward and remuneration chances. This type of choice will depend on your overall interests and goals.
Emergency response and disaster management: Nursing and primary health care are skills that are in high demand in the emergency response and disaster management sectors across the globe. With extreme weather events becoming more normal, there is unfortunately always going to be work in this sector. These are sectors where there will be a lot more action, and as such, increased risk, so a lot more thought needs to go into considering these as options for progression.
Care recruitment: Knowing what the personal attributes are for a good carer and having worked in the field of care provide you with the skills and insights to become a recruiter for care home staff and in-home caregivers. Either working for a care home or a recruitment firm specializing in care and wellbeing are options that current caregivers should consider as the sector grows. There are more jobs, and as such, the ancillary posts, such as in recruitment, supply chain, and logistics, will also increase, so having an understanding of the care sector and the work involved will stand you in good stead for such jobs.
Mentoring and volunteering
One of the best ways to develop practical care skills is to use them, and the best way to do this is to look for opportunities to volunteer. Find a care situation or opportunity that is in line with what you want to do, and then look to gain work experience by offering to volunteer.
If you are already involved in care, then mentoring other caregivers and younger carers will allow you to practice these care skills but also develop the skills that could see you moving into a management, training, or administrative role. Being a mentor to those who are new to the profession is one of the most rewarding ways to improve your own resume, but more importantly, to maintain professional standards and ensure an elevated level of support for those in your care.
The internet provides a reliable source of developmental information and career guidance for those in the care industry. It is an essential resource in that care has not been a first choice or popular career, and yet it is the most in-demand set of skills in our current society as people live healthier for longer. The advice contained in this article is about making the most of a career in care and being able to spot the opportunities that are out there. It is not an exhaustive list or guide but simply provides a starting point for further investigation and discussion as to how a start as a care provider could take you to some interesting career destinations.
This is a contributed post and therefore may not reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author. ☺