Professional Caregivers Require More Than Training to Succeed

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National Nurses Week is May 6-12.  It is a week to acknowledge the contributions nurses and caregivers make and honor the roles they play in our lives. For those of us with a loved one in an assisted living community, with in-home care, or at a nursing home, it is an especially good time to show your appreciation for professional caregivers – whether they are nurses or in the nursing family/department.

Beyond Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse, the range of titles for a professional caregiver in the nursing family can include personal care attendant, home health aide, senior caregiver, certified nursing assistant (CNA) and more. Regardless of title, a professional caregiver is dedicated to his/her patients and equipped with the skills that your elderly loved one needs.  

Take Jamie Ecimovic, for example. She is a professional caregiver at Concordia at Villa St. Joseph in Baden, PA. While still in high school, Jamie found her way to Villa St. Joseph, and also found her calling. At the age of 17, she started her training, eventually earned her CNA certificate and never left. She’s been at Villa St. Joseph for 17 years now, advancing her career along the way.  

Today she serves as a unit clerk and is responsible for setting appointments, entering doctors’ orders and making sure the unit is running smooth.  Even though she does administrative work, she can’t resist taking care of patients. She said, “If I walk into a room and the bed is not made, I have to make it.”

While training and education are necessary to meet job requirements, according to Jamie, you must have personal qualities such as compassion and enthusiasm to be successful. Other traits that are helpful for professional caregivers to possess may include:

• Have a sense of calm. High stress situations and undesirable tasks test professional caregivers. Demonstrating compassion, caring and thoughtfulness under pressure is a critical quality.

• Separate work and home pressures. Patients may be facing dire emotional and physical challenges, and it’s important to not add to those stresses.  Jamie said in her experience, it’s essential that professional caregivers leave their work stresses at work and home stresses at home.

• Exercise good judgement. Caregivers consistently assess patient needs. It’s important to plan for and meet personalized needs. You must make important decisions and know what services are required.  

• Possess good communication skills. Patients, family members, as well as other health care professionals may rely on you for important details. Communicating clearly and calmly is also required if someone is behaving in a difficult manner.

• Being dedicated and selfless. Often patients need motivation and cheering. You must be unflappable and focused, especially with older and infirm people.

The challenges can be sizeable, Jamie said, but the rewards are great. You know you are making a difference in the lives of people who need you.

Do you have what it takes to be a professional caregiver? If you are interested in learning more, contact the location or home care office you are interested in, or call our administrative headquarters at 1-888-352-1571. You can also search an array of professional caregiver career opportunities at the Careers section of our website.

If you have a question about how we can help your loved one or if you want to learn more about the different services we offer, you may also visit the care levels & services page of our website for details on a number of services we offer including In-Home CareLong-Term Nursing CareAdult Day Services, and more.

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