Direct care workers have a very important job taking care of sick, injured and disabled people. There are many occupational names for a direct care worker including nursing assistant, home health aide and patient care technician.
Due to the quickly aging population, the demand for direct care workers is very high. However, the job isn’t for the faint of heart. It is a unique career because you work so closely with the client, and they depend on you for many of their basic living requirements.
Before pursuing a career as a direct care worker, you should get matched to a specific training program. MedCerts offers a quick three-minute quiz to help you discover what career path is best for you.
Don’t worry; you won’t be graded on this quiz. It only asks for basic information about your current situation, career goals and interests.
Due to the nature of a direct care worker’s job requirements, there are specific tasks an employer or client will require candidates to be able to complete, including:
Providing direct care: This is the number one skill of a direct care worker. It requires identifying people with special needs and offering hands-on assistance to them.
Providing personal care: This skill includes meal preparation, administering medication and housekeeping.
Teaching independent living: This involves helping clients to develop the necessary skills for living alone or completing tasks on their own.
Working with intellectual disabilities: For many clients, it can be valuable to have prior experience assisting those with developmental disabilities.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Training: This life-saving skill is used to keep blood and oxygen pumping through the body in the event that the client stops breathing.
Additional skills and personality traits a direct caregiver should have are:
Empathy: Most of these patients will be very frail, in pain or unable to perform daily tasks by themselves.
Observant: A direct care worker must be detail-oriented. Making a mistake can cause the patient serious harm. All rules and schedules must be met every time.
Interpersonal skills: Direct care workers must be compassionate and sensitive with their patients. They will work with their patients in a very personal way and perform tasks that many people are embarrassed to have someone help them with.
Stamina and strength: Many patients may not be able to move on their own. A direct care worker may have to lift clients to get them into bed, a chair or the bathtub. Also, they are often required to work long hours on their feet.
Time management: Most clients will have very strict medication schedules. Direct care workers will often see many clients in one day and must make sure to keep them on schedule.
For more information about a career helping some of our most vulnerable populations, contact your local workforce counselor. There are many workforce grants and federal funds available for education and training in this field. Begin your journey to become a direct care worker today.