Becoming a caregiver is an important first step toward a rewarding career. What you do after that first step is vital to developing your skills and advancing your career as a caregiver. How can you hone your skills and grow professionally as a caregiver? We’ve identified 5 steps you can take that will improve your skills, enhance your career satisfaction, and put you at the top of the caregiving profession:
- Find a Mentor. At your workplace, ask your team who is the best caregiver, then ask that person if he/she would consider being your mentor. Schedule time to talk with your mentor at least once a month. Pick their brain on all the things! How do they keep their energy up? What makes patients connect with them? What is the hardest thing they have to do and why? What is their favorite part of the job? Keep a list of situations you come across and ask them what they would have done.
- Get Certified. In every industry, there are specialty certifications you can get and sometimes they are even free! The same is true in caregiving. You can become a Certified Dementia Practitioner, get a Diabetes Care Certification, or get certified in Parkinson’s Assessment and Treatment to name a few. Talk to your mentor (see above!) about certifications he or she holds or would suggest for you.
- Practice! The more you perform caregiver duties, the better you will become. Make yourself as available as you can to be scheduled with clients so that you can execute your caregiving skills repeatedly and become better in the process.
- Network. Look into joining forums, associations, or any professional caregiver groups. We learn by osmosis! Be curious what people are doing and what is working for them. You are the company you keep, so make sure you invest in surrounding yourself with professionals. Membership in professional organizations also provides a secondary benefit–support! Being part of a proud caregiver community enhances your awesomeness. Iron sharpens iron!
- Go all in. Dive into your work, because that’s where the opportunities happen. That’s not a coincidence. Dive in with confidence, contribute generously, and care as if you are your own business. If you want to improve, contribute to conversations. Engage in employee chats. Encourage your peers. Offer to chair a committee. Ask if there is help needed. Being an active participant at work teaches you things you didn’t know and polishes skills you already have. A caregiver who is all in always grows and always gets noticed.
I applaud you for committing yourself to the caregiving profession! Keep moving forward with these steps and watch your career blossom!
Here’s to life to the fullest,
Tiffany Rubin, Governing Board Member
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