Schools Training

Life After Personal Support Worker (PSW) Courses: Find Your Niche

2 APR 2012
Career Path : Personal Support Worker

Succeeding as a personal support worker is about more than just excelling in your PSW courses. It is about marketing yourself in the workplace. And one of the best ways to market oneself is to find a niche – a way to distinguish yourself from the average graduate of a personal support worker course. Here are some ideas to explore.

1. Specialize in end-of-life care

You may have learned about palliative care in your personal support worker course. If the idea of working with the dying in a hospice, hospital or private home is attractive to you… If you would consider it a privilege to support someone on their final journey, then there is some reading and learning that you can do above and beyond the normal requirements of your PSW courses.

Reading to supplement your PSW courses:

  • Hospice and Palliative Care: The Essential Guide by Stephen R. Connor
  • The Hospice Companion by P.G. Fine
  • Caring for the Dying: Critical Issues at the Edge of Life (Contemporary Issues) by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum
  • A Sacred Walk: Dispelling the Fear of Death and Caring for the Dying by Donna M. Authers
  • Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring by Henri J. M. Nouwen

2. Learn massage techniques

Another way to distinguish yourself from other graduates of PSW courses is to learn massage techniques. Some of your future patients may be bedridden and prone to the associated aches and pains. By supplementing the lessons learned in your personal support worker course with some massage techniques, you will be better equipped to:

  • help patients cope with pain or discomfort from lack of mobility
  • help acute patients recover faster

3. Master aromatherapy

As you will have learned in your PSW courses, part of your task will involve keeping your patients’ spirits up. One way to do this is via aromatherapy techniques. As a graduate of a personal support worker course, you may want to invest in some essential oils or lavender-scented pillows to help create an atmosphere of health and well being in your patients’ environments.

4. Get back to your roots

Did you grow up speaking a language other than English in the home? You may find that graduates of PSW courses who speak a second or third language are in demand to help provide specialized care to the ageing members of our minority communities. Make sure that your CV highlights your special language skills.

5. Use your voice (singing, storytelling)

Are you a good singer? Do you love to tell stories? Identify the natural talents that you have that can help bring pleasure into the lives of your patients. Many nursing homes offer musical programs for residents. Perhaps you can introduce a little musicality into your patients’ lives on an informal basis… It will add to the skills learned in your PSW courses.

As a graduate of a personal support worker course, you have many options to explore when looking to distinguish yourself on the marketplace. Be creative!