What Qualities and Qualifications Do You Need to be a Care Worker?
Are you keen to kick off a career as a care worker? It's hard work, but it's incredibly rewarding to the right kind of people. The most important personality traits of all, of course, are patience and compassion. But that's just the start, and there are also some useful qualifications you can take to further your career.
Here's a run-down of the qualities and qualifications that make a top class care worker, someone who has what it takes to do great things for people who deserve excellent support.
What qualities make a great care worker?
As we've mentioned, patience is a real virtue for care workers. When someone's capabilities are diminished, they might move more slowly, think more slowly. That's often very frustrating for them, so you need to stay calm and patient no matter how tense and stressful things get.
Hand in hand with patience goes cheerfulness. When you're the only face that someone sees all day, you can imagine how much it means when that face is smiling. A smile puts people at ease, relaxes them and indicates you're friendly, all really important when you're carrying out very personal, often intimate tasks.
Kindness is vital. And that involves the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to empathise fully with their situation. And a willingness to go that extra mile to make someone happier, more comfortable, more able or more confident means the world to a customer.
Multi-tasking is a great skill for care workers. It means you can handle more than one task at a time with good cheer and efficiency while still giving top quality care. The same goes for quick thinking, an essential skill when your customers can have severe conditions needing special care. If you can think on your feet, you'll find it invaluable.
Punctuality is much more than a mere courtesy in our world. Again, you need to be able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, someone who may not have interacted with another human being that day or for several days. You matter to them and they look forward to your visit, even planing their day around you. The last thing you want is to disappoint or inconvenience someone.
If you're keen to keep on learning, it'll serve you very well. It helps you provide the best possible care. The same goes for great listening skills, the ability to not just listen to the words someone is saying but also decode the emotions behind those words. It's a professional thing... but it's also very personal.
As a care worker you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, something you have to take in your stride calmly and cheerfully. It's your job to own your mistakes and learn how to avoid them next time, something that tends to be easier when you're the type of person who understands that nobody's perfect.
What qualifications help you along the care worker career ladder?
In most cases, you don’t need formal qualifications to start a career as a carer. Experience means a lot, and it can often replace formal qualifications if you don not want to go to college or do a degree course.
Care workers need a good knowledge of the regulations that underpin the care sector. We will ensure that you are fully trained in this before you start your new career.
As you grow in your role there are several key qualifications that will make your life easier and help provide even better care. You can also train and develop your skills on the job, for example day release training and part-time college courses.
· You can start off with part-time foundation and induction training, usually recommended within your first 12 weeks with an employer
· Full-time National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) courses, namely Level 2, 3 and 4 Diplomas in Health and Social Care, are popular, standing you in good stead. Because NVQs don't come with exams, you'll be assessed on your everyday work.
An NVQ 2 in Health & Social Care is perfect for care assistants and support workers, focusing on person- enabled care, developing and maintaining individual independence and direct care. This is your entry level care qualification.
An NVQ 3 in Health & Social care is designed with senior care workers, domiciliary care workers and care workers who supervise other staff in mind. It's all about giving physical, emotional and enabling care. This one is also ideal if you don't have supervisory or management responsibilities but have to make important decisions within set boundaries.
An NVQ 4 in care is for senior care workers, domiciliary care workers and those in management positions. It focuses on the management and delivery of care, created to teach best practice in managing physical, emotional and enabling care.
A relevant degree can prove handy, giving you what you need to move into management and other senior roles
Does that sound interesting?
Whether you're looking for a new start in the care sector at a junior level or want to improve your existing career prospects, now you know what type of person does the best job, and which qualifications matter. We're always happy to talk to people just like you – just get in touch.