Being a parent can be a constant juggle. It’s stressful and demanding at times, but also incredibly rewarding. You’re responsible for the care of another human being and, without even realising it, you’re making a difference, simply by being there. The same can be said for working in health and community care – an industry that makes a difference every day.
In fact, being a parent can prepare you for a career in the healthcare industry in more ways than you think. As a negotiator, carer, multi-tasker, problem solver and friend all rolled into one!
So, how can you can apply your parenting skills to a rewarding career in health and community care?
Children rely on their parents to be there for them. To listen when they need help and encourage their independence. A good Healthcare Support Worker will do the same. This means being able to show compassion to everyone in your care. To be understanding of their needs and approach every situation with warmth and a positive attitude.
Negotiating with a child is no easy feat. There can be tears, tantrums and plenty of resistance. But, part of navigating your way as a parent is learning to flex those skills of negotiation and find a way to come to a resolution that you’re both happy with.
And, just like that, without even realising it, you’ve already learnt a valuable skill that can easily be applied in any workplace or business situation! None more so, than in health and community care, where you’re working with people who have different care needs and personalities. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, so you need to be able to adapt your negotiating skills to each situation, in order to get the best outcome for your patients.
Being a parent is all about multitasking. It can sometimes feel like you’re constantly bouncing from one place to the other: school, work, sporting activities, the supermarket, home. But, at the end of the day, while chaotic at times, you know you’re doing everything you can to support your kids.
Working in health and community care, where you may be caring for multiple patients at the one time, is not that much different. If you’re working as a Nurse, for example, a typical day might see you checking in on your patients, assessing their health and wellbeing (both mental and physical), helping with medication, liaising with doctors and other nurses on their progress, and keeping up-to-date with your notes. It can be a very busy environment, there are so many things going on at the one time, and so the ability to multi-task is a great skill to have.
And, in much in the same way as parenting, while it can be busy, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just the smallest gesture!
Part of a being a parent is not just listening to what your kids say, but also to what they don’t say, and picking up on non-verbal cues (i.e. their behaviour). This is especially true with babies, you need to anticipate their needs when they can’t communicate them. Are they hungry? Are they tired? As they grow, you need to find different ways of communicating with them, based on their level of understanding. For example, the way you talk to a toddler is not the same way you would talk to a teenager.
As a Healthcare Support Worker, good communication skills are pretty much a pre-requisite of the job! You may be working with people who have a physical and/or intellectual disability and have specific ways of communicating – this could be verbal or non-verbal. It is your job to find ways to work with each person in your care so that they feel supported, understood and valued.
While it can sometimes be challenging, it is also one of the most rewarding parts of the job. You are building lifelong friendships and helping to improve someone’s quality of life.
Personal problem solver
This is a big one. With kids, every day brings a new problem to solve. From the small ones (your toddler not wanting to nap) to the big ones (your kid got in trouble at school). Regardless of their age, life is never dull when kids are around.
But, if you’ve learnt the art of problem-solving and thinking on your feet in stressful situations as a parent, then you’re already one step closer to a rewarding career as a Support Worker.
In health and community care, everything you do is centred around human contact – with your patients, their families, other care workers and community support group. Every day is different, with new problem or issue to solve, often in a very short amount of time. It could be anything from the family of a patient disagreeing with your care recommendations, to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) concerns that may arise when trying to plan an outing or group activity for the people in your care.
It can be a balancing act, but it’s all part of taking on a role where you are someone’s biggest advocate and supporter.
Without even realising it, being a parent can equip you with some hugely valuable skills that you can use to carve out an exciting new career in health and community care. So, if you’ve always wanted to go down this career path, now has never been a better time to add a qualification to your already impressive set of skills as a master negotiator, communicator, carer, problem solver and multitasker!
Thinking of a career in health and community care?
Open Colleges School of Health offers nationally recognised courses in health and community care that could see you working as a Nurse, Disability Support Worker, Aged Care Worker or an Individual Support Worker. You can study online and on-campus to build your knowledge and practical skills to deliver exceptional care to patients and client. Learn more.