What You Need to Know About a Career in Caregiving
The career of a professional caregiver can be very fulfilling. Oftentimes, caregiving helps us become more compassionate, confident, and gives us a greater sense of purpose in life. However, the role of a caregiver is not without its difficulties. With long hours, years of necessary schooling, as well as being a physically and emotionally taxing job, caregiving isn’t for everyone.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a career in caregiving and want to know more about what it means to be a caregiver — the ups, the downs, the benefits, the struggles, and how someone can find fulfillment in the industry — here are a few key things you need to know:
You’ll Never Stop Learning
One of the first things to be aware of when considering a caregiver career is the importance of staying up-to-date with certifications and education. For example, part of being a medical professional means being CPR certified. While most of us have been certified at one point in our lives, it’s recommended that those working in the medical field renew their CPR certification every two years.
Depending on the path you choose within the caregiving career, there are likely several certifications you’ll be responsible for renewing regularly. For example, if you specialize in patients with dementia, you may need to acquire and maintain a dementia care certification. While these kinds of requirements are in place to help refresh your mind of important protocols, they’re mainly there to help educate you in emergencies. You may inevitably find yourself saving someone’s life because of them. It’s not hard to understand then, why schooling and certification are so vital in this wide career field.
The Possibilities are Endless
There are several different yet still fulfilling roles you can take on. Most people tend to picture a certified nursing assistant (CNA) when they think of a caregiver job, but that’s not the only role needed in the field. There are other vital positions that all help contribute to a caregiving practice.
One great example to look at is a nursing home administrator. A nursing home administrator, as Bradley University aptly explains, “…ensure(s) that their residents are receiving the support and assistance they require. Professionals in this role also manage the financial health of their long-term care facilities, and participate in other important administrative duties such as developing record-keeping systems, billing processes, and fee schedules.” This role can be great for those who are goal-orientated, sociable, and consider themselves more of an entrepreneur than a nurse. This position may also be ideal for you if you fear the inevitable burnout that comes with more hands-on positions in the caregiving field.
Burnout is Real
Finally, one of the biggest things to keep in mind when starting a career in caregiving is burnout. Because of the nature of the medical field, it can be a rather draining job. With so many long working hours, finding time for yourself can be hard as a caregiver. Furthermore, having a non-traditional schedule can also make it difficult to spend time with your family, friends, and even pets.
Caregiver burnout is a serious issue that can even lead to anxiety or depression. Luckily, burnout is not a new problem the field has faced and as such, many resources are put in place to help caregivers avoid burnout. Still, working in the medical field can be demanding and you do have to be fairly tough mentally, physically, and emotionally. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a miserable position.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of reasons to pursue a career in caregiving. It’s important though, to also be aware of the downsides. Whatever your skills and interests are, take some time to do a bit of research and see if any caregiving positions align with your interests — you might be surprised at what you find!
-by Luke Smith
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college, he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but health and wellness topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash