More than just a job, working as a personal care worker or personal care assistant in aged care means you fulfil the important role of enhancing the lives of those who are potentially vulnerable and in need of compassionate and empathetic care.
In an industry that is growing and changing, with more support from the government than ever before, aged care is an increasingly progressive industry to work in. Policy focus is creating a working environment that is facilitating a workforce that is able to deliver a standard of care that can have a profound impact on people in need and our ageing population. The role personal care workers play is more important than ever.
Desirable qualifications for a career in aged care or disability care
To deliver the highest quality care to those who need it most, it’s important to gain the right qualifications. A Certificate III in Individual Support (CHC33021) is the perfect entry level qualification for you to begin a career as an aged care professional. Once you have that, the Certificate IV in Ageing Support will get qualified to take on specialised tasks in residential, home or community-based care environments. Or, if you see yourself specialising in the disability sector, the Certificate IV in Disability will enable you to provide support to people with disabilities to enhance their ability to achieve greater levels of independence and community participation.
It’s also worth looking into short courses which can be beneficial in the aged or disability sectors such as first aid and CPR certificates.
The qualities to work as personal care workers in aged care or disability care
Getting qualified will help you on your path to a great career in the aged care industry, but what are the key qualities you need to develop to work as a personal care worker?
Whether in-built or learned through time and experience, these nine qualities will help you thrive in an aged care role and maximise the level of care you provide:
1. Kindness and empathy
If there’s one thing you can’t get enough of, it’s kindness. Try to see situations from the perspective of those in your care and act with kindness and compassion.
When working with a variety of different people, it’s essential to reflect on the care you’re providing and constantly reassess to determine the best way to approach each individual’s care.
3. Ability to communicate
Effective communication is important in any job and a valuable skill for life. As a personal care assistant communicating well means you are better able to provide the care that is needed. Communication can be both verbal and non-verbal, may be with your clients, their families or co-workers, and it involves listening too. Check out our communication tips here.
4. Openness to learn
A lifelong learning mentality means that you’re always open to learning new things, a better way or a unique approach as needed. In aged care you may continue to learn right through your career.
Motivation can come from different places for different people, but it is an important quality to thrive in the workplace. Using your reflections is an effective way to learn what motivates you to do your best work.
Being passionate about working with the older and less able members of our community means wanting to make a difference to people’s lives and making a positive impact on the world. A little passion goes a long way.
Ageing is a gradual process that is an inevitable part of the human experience, and everyone has been young once. Keep it in mind that seniors have made contributions to and have had many life experiences. That perspective enables you to provide warm-hearted care.
At times you will be challenged in your aged care role. This may come in the form of rudeness or your clients being difficult. In other instances, this may even look like racism, ageism or sexism. Any inappropriate or offensive behaviour should be reported to your employer and dealt with accordingly, but it is also important to be resilient. Know that this behaviour is not a reflection of you in any way.
9. Patience and understanding
Be patient and understanding, remembering that the individuals may sometimes be frustrated by the things they can no longer do for themselves or take much longer to undertake and everyday task than expected.
An aged care course with Royal College can get you ready to join the aged care workforce and thrive in a truly meaningful career helping people create a better life.