Caught up in our increasingly busy lives, many of us tend to overlook the immense challenges faced by individuals with reduced mobility – people who for a range of reasons, require special assistance to complete essential daily tasks. In many cases, that assistance comes from PSWs – personal support workers.
Canadians, with our large population of retiring baby-boomers, are particularly impacted by a shortage of professionals with personal support worker training. These are the healthcare team members we will rely on to care for beloved family members and friends who as they age, become more reliant on the health care system.
Working in hospitals, long-term care facilities and in the homes of their patients, PSWs occupy a truly special role in improving the quality of life for seniors or individuals coping with serious medical conditions. Helping with everything from buying groceries and preparing healthy meals, to administering medications and lending support to family members – personal support workers provide personalized health care, and are one of the most valuable members of our medical community.
The Satisfaction of Knowing You Make a Difference
People are usually drawn to careers in public service because they want to make a positive difference in their communities. Anyone who has become a police officer in North Bay, run for local government or joined a service-orient non-profit has experienced firsthand how giving back yields its own rich rewards.
Different from busy doctors (and increasingly, nurses) who may only spend a moment or two with patients, PSWs have opportunities to build real bonds with the individuals they work with. Sharing meals, helping with household chores, and spending time with families, personal support workers get to see up-close the difference they make in their patients’ lives. PSWs make each day easier for someone who may be suffering, in pain, or unable to perform tasks by themselves – plus they also provide companionship to patients whose family members may live far away, or whose spouse may have passed long ago.
Flexible Career Options
What’s great about a PSW career is that you are prepared for the workforce right out of college. And graduates enjoy several options in terms of employment options. For those who prefer fast-paced and busy work environments, hospitals could be the ideal choice. Others feel a special calling to bring help and service to the elderly in long-term or palliative care facilities. For PSWs who prefer to make house calls, there are home healthcare agencies all across Canada, which will help connect professionals in the field with home-bound patients. Many personal support workers are also former nurses who prefer the atmosphere of home health care over working in a medical facility. For service-oriented students with an interest in health care, PSW training can lead to a less stressful career than say, paramedic training, while still providing graduates with the benefits of helping the fastest growing segment of Canada’s population.
Choose Your Own Schedule
Given the demand for PSWs, many professionals in the field enjoy the flexibility of choosing their own schedule. Personal support workers with school-age children can ask their agency to connect them with patients who only need help during the day. If weekends are better, an agent will link PSWs with patients in need of service on Saturdays and Sundays when perhaps their usual support system is unavailable. This flexibility leaves personal support workers with the free time they need to pursue further education, raise a family or work out of semi-retirement.
What do you consider the greatest reward of being a personal support worker?