Education, qualifications and work experience are all great things to have but in the care sector, we look for specific personality traits…
When you are going into the type of work that involves supporting someone when they are at their most vulnerable, then your personality becomes much more important than how many GCSE’s and A’ Levels you might have under your belt.
When home care providers recruit for new care workers, they are looking for specific personality traits that a carer will need to have.
The things that we look for are not measurable and tangible things, they are things that can only be found through a good conversation and questioning in an interview. It also requires the person who is doing the interviewing to be able to use their intuition and to get a really good feel for the person they are looking at recruiting.
Here are some of the personality traits that we look for in a carer, at the end of each personality trait, we have included some ways that you can look at your own behaviours to more easily tell if you have these attributes.
Sensitivity, patience and understanding
People that a care worker will support may be some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This can range from people who are older and more frail, people with a long term illness, like dementia, to people who are facing the end of their life.
It’s important that a carer can pick up easily on feelings and emotions. Be that from facial expressions, tone of voice, verbal or non-verbal indications. If someone is in pain, or uncomfortable, or needs more help with something, the care will instinctively pick up on these things, offering to alter the situation to help the person.
With such a wide range of support needs and personalities they attend to, they need to alter themselves with each visit. Being sensitive to each person’s preferences and needs, and understanding how each person likes to be worked with.
This is a very advanced set of social skills that for most carers comes naturally.
Is this me?
If you are not already a carer, you may find that you already use these skills when caring for your children, or perhaps an elderly relative. You may find that when you are with your friends, you are able to tell straight away that someone is agitated, or apprehensive.
Supportive and encouraging
The ability to be able to both support and encourage is really important. Not everyone wants to have someone come to their house and do everything for them – in fact hardly anyone wants that. Carers only do things for people when they are unable to do so for themselves. When a care worker supports someone who is recovering from an operation, for example – they gently encourage the person to start redoing the things they did before, helping where needed.
A supportive person will be positive and provide positive messages to the person they are supporting. This can be smiles, or verbal acknowledgement of achievement.
Supporting and encouraging also means that if someone is worried about something, they will talk it through, listening to what it is about the situation that is worrying the person, helping them to get through it.
Is this me?
If you have some good friends, and you are one of the people that your family turns to to talk about things, then it is highly likely that you have this personality trait. You may notice yourself encouraging people close to you when they have a job interview for example.
A sense of responsibility
Having a sense of responsibility is very important in care work. Getting someone the right medication at the right time, turning up to your client on time, sticking to the rota that you’ve been assigned. All of these things require a level of responsibility.
In life, we all have responsibilities; caring for a pet, children, paying the bills. In care work, carers have the responsibility of other people’s lives, comfort, and dignity in their hands.
Is this me?
If you have not experienced any great sense of responsibility yet, then think about what things in your life there are that you have to remain consistently responsible for. It might be walking the dog – if you don’t walk your pet dog then he might wreck the house as he is not being able to let off energy. Do you look at the repercussions of not keeping to your responsibility?
A caring and compassionate nature
A carer has feelings about the well being of their clients. They genuinely care if they are comfortable, that they are happy, and that they are getting the best out of life. A carer can put themselves into someone else’s shoes, understanding the world from the perspective of their client.
This is a key personality trait in working with a client. If you are supporting a member of a family who is facing the end of their life, you need to also be caring and compassionate to the family around them. Most carers are described as ‘a rock’ and ‘like another member of the family’ in these situations.
Is this me?
If you have raised children then it is likely that you already posses these traits. Or if you really care about the happiness and of your friends. You may have been the ‘rock’ of the family when a relative has passed away. Or maybe you are someone your friends can be open with emotionally.
Respect is something that is shown when you take the time to understand a person, how they like to be treated in their own home. Understanding that every person in different and not all like you is respect. It is also showing people that they matter.
Respect includes courtesy and manners, like not taking a personal phone call when you are with a client, not talking as if someone is not there. Saying please, and thank you, also to respect someone’s right to privacy.
Is this me?
If you are a polite person, and are tolerant and respectful of other people in life, and their differences to you, then it is likely that you will be a respectful carer.
Dignity is something that we all take for granted, until we are in a position where we feel our sense of dignity is compromised. If you are providing personal care for example which is a very personal thing to do; how would you feel if you had to be washed by someone? If you need help to use the toilet?
This type of work must be done with confidence and a caring nature so that the client will feel at ease with you and it becomes less of a trauma for them, helping to preserve their dignity.
Perhaps a client prefers that you only help them with buttoning up clothes and they like to do the rest for themselves. To let them take their own pace and do what they can for themselves, keeps respect and dignity intact.
Is this me?
If you have ever had someone behave badly towards you, and you have not responded in the same way, then you have preserved your dignity and self-respect. If you’ve ever noticed a friend or someone you know has some food on their face and you let them know it is there, you are retaining their dignity.
If you require further information on the discussion above or indeed any enquiries regarding Care in your own home, please contact our office on 01623 360 193 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can use our Contact Form on our website:- www.leymarhealthcare.co.uk