Monday, 22 September 2014

Turning Your Family Caregiving Skills Into a Career

By: Samantha Stauf

Sometimes our careers find us, and other times, we just fall into them. Many people may find themselves fulfilling the duties of “caregiver” without ever having considered it as a career.  Lots of people find themselves in situations where they provide basic care for another person. Some of these are:
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  •       Parents, especially of children with illnesses or disabilities, who usually have to learn nursing skills, including the delivery of medications.

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  •       Those in the “sandwich generation”, who are raising kids and taking care of their aging parents simultaneously.

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  •       Adults whose parents have moved into their family homes - parents can be affected with Alzheimer’s or other medical conditions.


Licensed Practical Nurse
If you find yourself helping someone perform basic daily tasks, assisting with bedside functions like applying bandages, bathing, and dressing, you are performing the job of a licensed practical nurse (LPN). With a one-year certification course and the right licensure, you could make between $30,000 and $60,000 a year performing these tasks professionally. Your experience will probably help make the learning process easier as well.



Registered Nurse
If you’ve collaborated with doctors to create care plans for a loved one, are used to monitoring behavior and reaction to medications, and can administer medication, you might consider a career as an RN. You’ll need to spend longer in school, earning the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. This is because an RN’s job also involves a lot of work with medical equipment, performing diagnostic tests, and analyzing test results.  On average, RNs earn between $45,000 and $95,000 a year. Take an in-depth look at different nursing options to see what field might be best for you.

Personal Support Worker
Another career option for those who help with daily personal needs is that of a personal support worker.  PSWs work directly with patients, providing household and personal care support, overseeing the patient’s condition, and providing informal counselling as needed. A certification is not an absolute requirement for this job, but many institutions require one. Retirement homes and community care centers often hire PSWs, so if you have experience with and enjoy working with the elderly, this might be a great career move.



Choosing the Best Career for your Skills
We learn best from personal experience. If you’ve had people in your life with dementia, developmental disabilities, physical ailments, or other specific conditions that you aided with, you’re likely to be more inclined to be able to help people with the same or similar conditions. If you’ve talked friends through hard psychological issues, you might consider a specialty in therapy. If you’ve had experience with diabetic loved ones, assisted living homes might find your skills particularly useful.

Draw from your personal experience when considering a career change; do the research and decide what the best path is for you.

Samantha Stauf spends her free time losing at Scrabble to her wordsmith grandmother and reading about recent strides in healthcare.


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