There has been a surge in the careers regarded as caring (health, nursing, social work, home health aides, occupational therapists, and even teaching), basically any career that involves looking after someone else.
The surge in this sector has been well documented, and a number of pros and cons have become apparent regarding these professions. The aim of this article is to explain and describe these caring professions and then to be able to pinpoint how to get the best from such professions.
What is a caring profession?
As aforementioned, the care professions are those that involve looking after someone else and will range from pediatric care to elderly care and anything in between that has a caring or social component.
The bureau of labor statistics in the USA notes that both healthcare and healthcare support occupations that would encapsulate such care careers have been on the increase, and both offer for great remuneration opportunities and the possibility to thoroughly enjoy what you do.
The care professions have also been under pressure in terms of the demand for these types of roles. The recent pandemic was a case in point as nurses and practical care assistants were in huge demand.
Pros and advantages of working in a caring profession
These will vary dependent on the specific profession you are looking at, and the advantages and disadvantages of care work and the care professions can be quite varied.
A caring role will be easily conducted by a nurturing person
Those who are already regarded as intrinsically nurturing, such as parents, mothers, and those with young children of their own, will find it a straightforward process to transfer these experiences to deal with care issues and a professional role in looking after others.
If it is something that you already do, then it will be much easier to firstly find a role and then to be able to add to these skills and experience through a formal course.
A care job could be in line with personal values and beliefs
How those from devoutly religious groupings have gravitated towards some of these professions, for example, the nursing profession is incredibly linked and related to the notion of the expression of Christian values and beliefs.
The idea is to be able to do a job that is intrinsically in line with your own belief and value system. You can also read further as to how these Christian values and beliefs are in line with the nursing profession.
The advantages of having a religion such as this as the basis and foundation of your career will provide a community of faith with whom you can share your workplace challenges.
One of the most difficult situations will be where the care provided and the people being cared for have very different principles and beliefs than yourself. The main advice is not to foist your own beliefs and opinions onto the person being cared for.
Care roles are the best way to make a real difference
One of the best ways to make a material difference in our society, communities, and on a national basis is to help others. This help is often essential and goes a long way to keeping families and children safe.
It is about building independence, dignity, and control. One of the biggest critical aspects of care and the caring careers. Care is not about building and entrenching dependency but more about helping those who need it to be in a position to help themselves.
From primary care to palliative care, the entire spectrum of this work is an opportunity to help others. It is in this way that you reap the rewards and fulfillment of any care role.
Care work builds interpersonal relationships
Having meaningful relationships is one of the key aspects of human life and goes a long way to improving one’s mental health and wellbeing. The relationships developed during the process of providing any form of genuine care are some of the sincerest in the healthcare sector.
It is almost impossible to be a caregiver for someone without developing a relationship with them and actually caring.
These are generally quite long-term relationships, specifically in regard to live-in elderly care and even teaching, and as such, they will allow for the formation of strong, durable interpersonal connections that are essential for a meaningful life.
As it has been proven that those who are able to develop genuine, long-lasting relationships with others are also those who will live longer and happier, healthier lives.
Cons or disadvantages of care work
Taking the care work home
Looking after someone else who has specific physical health or mental health issues and challenges or who is simply too young or too old to look after themselves can be a massive burden. One of the biggest downsides of engaging in care work is burnout.
Taking the issues home with you and not being able to separate the professional service provided and your own feelings for the people or persons that you are helping.
It is a very fine line between caring for someone and also looking after your own needs and wellbeing. There is no point being a caregiver if you yourself have massive mental health and wellbeing challenges that you are not dealing with.
The enormously difficult conditions that care workers, nurses, and all those in the caring professions sometimes have to work under can be some of the most difficult in the world of work. To keep going back for more day after day can be a tough process.
The conditions of the job are oftentimes out of your control, and the availability of medicines, equipment, a clear diagnosis in some cases, and just at the right working environment can cause untold hardship in a care role.
The perfect example in this regard is the difficulty that many caregivers, nurses, and medical staff experience over and during the COVID pandemic. It was a global pandemic that affected all hospitals and care environments across the globe.
These care workers were thrust onto the front lines of a situation in which people were dying and suffering on a daily basis from a disease that was highly contagious, and yet they continued to nurse and assist as many of the sick and poor as they could. It was recognized as the most difficult period in care work that has ever been experienced.
Care work is high-pressure work with a great deal of responsibility
This is noted as a con of the profession, but in reality, it is what it is, and as with many other jobs out there, if you are to do it properly, care work is high pressure. Depending on the nature of care, it can also be life or death.
If you are in the palliative, elderly live-in care, or chronic illness care sectors, then there will be extraordinarily little downtime as the demands of the job are immense, as are the responsibilities and risks.
There is no space or place for mediocrity and delays or forgetfulness in care work, as these may indeed affect the lives of those being looked after. The risks are high, and as such, the responsibilities must be taken seriously.
Risk of being undervalued
Many stakeholders in the care relationship, such as parents, family members, and the recipients themselves, often undervalue the work of those in the caring professions. They may be caring for your most loved relatives and family members but were still prepared to pay them as little as we can and try to get as much from them as we can.
Long hours and low pay are the most common assertion for most of those in live-in elderly care. This is often seen in the type of remuneration differences between the physicians and the care assistants and health aides. Yet the role of both is essential for normal human existence as we know it.
We often undervalue the live-in caregivers who look after our most beloved family members when they’re at their most vulnerable, and this is again seen in the low level of qualifications needed and the much lower rate of remuneration in comparison to registered nurses and doctors.
The pros and cons elaborated upon in this article are not unique to care work and the caring professions and will not be found in all of the types of care work that there are available.
It is thus incumbent upon the person looking at care as a career to choose wisely as to which aspect of care to train for and which work will suit your current skills, personality, and work ethic. The care careers or care jobs as discussed herein are all those that can have life-changing circumstances.
The pros and cons of these careers are important to recognize and be able to mitigate against the risks that are inherent in any caring relationship before they can adversely affect the relationship and the type of care that is provided.