This article was first published in January 2018 and updated in September 2022.
Being a care assistant requires a lot of dedication, hard work, compassion and more. It can be one of the most demanding jobs in healthcare, but it’s equally as rewarding. If you’re curious to know how to be a good care assistant, or what it takes to become a better care assistant, this post lays out what we think are the top ten skills and qualities of a care worker that we look for when hiring for our roles.
Patience is one of the key qualities of a carer. Sometimes patients may be slower at moving or explaining what they need. They may even be difficult or frustrated at times. Staying calm and remaining patient no matter how stressful the task at hand may be is truly a skill and is incredibly important. Anger or irritability can affect a care assistant’s ability to do their job and can upset the client.
2. Smile Regularly
As the saying goes – a smile is more powerful than a thousand words. As a care assistant you might be the only person our client sees during their day, so if you are pleasant, friendly and personable this could make a real difference to your client’s day.
A smile and cheerful manner puts service users at ease and helps them to feel comfortable in what may be an uncomfortable experience for them at times –this is especially important if a care worker is dealing with personal care requirements.
3. The ability to multi-task
If you are considering becoming a care assistant, one of the key things you need to possess is the ability to multi-task. Often care assistants are expected to work alone or as part of small teams, which can at times present a lot of tasks to complete in a short time frame. Good care assistants are enthusiastic about the challenge and can effectively deal with more than one task at a time while ensuring the level of care remains high.
4. Being able to think quickly
The nature of this job role means that things can change quickly or emergency situations can occur – such as a client falling. The ability to act quickly to deal with unexpected occurrences and difficult situations can be invaluable – and can even save lives.
This is especially crucial when working in domiciliary care and one of the best qualities of a good care worker. Our service users are often dependent on medication, meals and help to get out of bed – if a carer is late it can be disruptive, disappointing and have an impact on the client’s full day.
6. Willingness to learn
Care assistants are fully trained when commencing employment with Connected Health, however, there are opportunities within the company to develop knowledge and your career. We offer educational development such as NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care, and professional development such as the Dementia Championship programme.
7. Being a good listener
As mentioned previously, sometimes you are the only person a client will see all day. Our clients, like us, require social interaction and will have stories to tell or feel they need someone to talk to. Being a good, and patient, listener is one of the many qualities a care assistant should have. Great care assistants take time to listen and develop a personable relationship with the client.
8. Kindness and empathy
Any act of kindness goes a long way, especially in this area of work. Kindness is greatly appreciated by our clients and makes them feel that you really care about them. When a care assistant can put themselves into the shoes of the client, they can truly appreciate what a difference they can make to their lives.
9. Willingness to go the extra mile
Care assistants should care about their clients on a professional level and may go out of their way to do a little extra for them, sitting with them for an extra five minutes to talk when they seem to be struggling or need more support can mean the world to them.
10. Being able to take responsibility
Care assistants have a great responsibility in caring for another person. The best carers take this responsibility very seriously and hold the work they do with high esteem. A good care assistant will fully accept any mistakes they make and understand that nobody is perfect – learning from this rather than blaming mishaps on their rota or their client.
Hopefully, this article will have provided you with more insight on the most desirable qualities of a care assistant. Do you think you possess the qualities of a good healthcare assistant? Then we’d love to hear from you. We’re recruiting for various homecare jobs in Dublin and throughout Ireland and are always interested in hearing from carers with passion, kindness and empathy.