Meet Andrea, a care support worker based in North Devon. Find out why she decided on a change of career and why she thinks her job is so special.
It’s all the little things that add up to the big things.
Working within the community as a care support worker means that I have a huge remit and my days are really varied. My role can mean anything, from personal care to buying people food, and reminding people to take their medicine. Although these might seem small things, they add up to something really important for the people I visit – sometimes I’m the only person they get to see in the day.
I primarily care for older people, but the youngest person I visit is in her early twenties. I’ve recently taught her how to cook which has been lovely. Everyone I visit is completely different and I enjoy being able to meet and talk to so many interesting people – they never fail to surprise me with their fascinating stories.
It’s nice to be in an environment that puts people at the centre of the job.
I previously worked in communications, but was made redundant. I wanted a job that was accessible from North Devon and care seemed like a really good fit. In many ways it felt like it was meant to be as it allows me to continue communicating with people – which is what I love doing.
I like making people feel better even when they are having a difficult time.
My favourite part of the job is the people that I get to meet and the variety. The fact that you can make a difference to someone’s life, make their day better and put a smile on their face is very special.
I feel very privileged that vulnerable people allow me into their homes and lives – it’s very humbling and I’m grateful to have the chance to build such trusting relationships with the people I help care for.
I’ve found that giving people space to be sad or frustrated is so important, but I think it is hard as well – it is definitely something I have got used to over time.
You have to have the memory of an elephant.
My job seems really natural to me now but that definitely comes with time and experience. Starting out I found it challenging to remember everything – family names, pets, where their house was and where things were in their house!
For people who are new to the job, one challenge is that you often come across things that may shock you – particularly with some aspects of personal care. You do become more used to it though – the main thing is to stay calm.
I don’t think there is a set quality you have to have.
I don’t think there are any singular qualities that you have to have. I know care support workers who are very bouncy and buoyant but also know people who are very calm. Being able to listen and communicate is important – you have to make the people you care for feel like the centre of the world while you are with them.
It isn’t just communicating with individuals though – working as part of a team is also a large part of the job and you have to be able to work closely with other professionals, whether it is colleagues, doctors, district nurses or paramedics.
My family were really surprised and are very proud.
My family were surprised when I told them about my new job, but they see how much I love it and now they love it as much as I do. They are definitely all proud – especially my mother.
I think it’s important that people disregard the stereotypes.
I would tell anyone thinking about a job in health and care to disregard the stereotypes and the stigma around it. There are lots of misconceptions about caring but there are so many different opportunities for career development, where a huge diversity of training possibilities can lead to senior roles and even management positions.
I think it’s time working in care was regarded as the exciting profession it genuinely is – and I’m always happy to tell people how much I love it.
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