12.26.2012

Do you have what it takes to be a care worker?

Are you caring, patient and good with people? Are you a good listener and want to make a difference to people's lives? Then becoming a care worker could be the job for you.

Care workers provide assistance, support and care to people who have difficulties with their daily activities like providing health care services for the elderly . You could work with older people, families, children, people with learning or physical disabilities in a variety of environments including a clients' home, a residential home, a hospital or a day centre.

As a care worker you may do some of the following - help clients at home with tasks like showering and dressing, do housework such as cleaning and ironing, preparing/serving meals or cleaning medical equipment.

Although part-time hours are available, care workers usually work on shifts - which are likely to include weekends. If you work in a residential home, you may sometimes be required to stay overnight and in some jobs you may need to live in.

The starting salary for a care worker can be from £12,000 and will rise with experience, qualifications and extra responsibilities.

Whether you enjoy working with children, older people or families, you could find a suitable role. It can be challenging but also very rewarding because you will be making a real difference to someone's life.

If you want to find out more, read on to see out what qualities you need for a job as a care worker.

Entry requirements

There are no academic qualifications needed to become a care worker. Getting a job depends more on experience and having the necessary skills. It would be useful if you had experience in a care role; any work helping people - paid, voluntary or even helping a family member - would be an advantage. Roles within customer services, cleaning and housekeeping would also be beneficial.

If you want to work with people who have mental health problems or disabilities, previous experience may be essential.

Personal qualities

As a care worker you will needed to:

be patient and sensitive
have a good sense of humour
be friendly and caring
have a desire to help people
have an ability to remain calm under pressure
be organised and responsible
have the ability to follow instructions
relate to people from all different backgrounds
have good listening and communicating skills
be reliable and flexible
Additional requirements

As a care worker you will need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong with no back problems - as the work can be physically demanding and involve lifting. You may be required to lift and move patients or do housework so you can be on your feet most of the day. Shifts can be demanding, so you will need good stamina and both physical and emotional endurance.

Some employers may want you to have a driving licence because you are likely to have clients in different locations.

If you have a first aid certificate and experience in a hospital, care skills, understand the needs of the elderly, families, children and people with disabilities, this will go in your favour. Also understanding hospital procedures, health and safety issues such as storing dangerous goods are also beneficial.

Care workers will need to be CRB-checked to make sure they are suitable to work with children and vulnerable adults.

Career progression

There are plenty of opportunities for care workers to progress in their job as long as you are committed, responsible and enthusiastic about your approach.

As a care worker you'll be learning on the job. Employers usually offer the chance to undertake courses in hygiene, health and safety and other relevant courses and encourage care workers to work towards an NVQ level 2 or 3 in Health and Social Care. With these qualifications you can be moved to a managerial or supervisor role.

About the author:

Carewatch is one of the UK's leading providers of home care, and have been providing quality home care services for almost two decades across the whole of the UK with our network of highly trained and qualified local teams who have a passion to support independent living, and make a difference in the lives of those we support.

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