Schools Training

Stress Management for Graduates of Personal Support Worker (PSW) Courses

16 FEB 2012
Career Path : Personal Support Worker

You are empathetic. Check. You are energetic. Check. Trustworthy, organized, level-headed. Check, check, check. No wonder you are registered in a personal support worker course. PSW courses are an excellent option for motivated individuals searching for a meaningful career. But have you thought about how you will manage your stress once you are on the job? With a little special attention, you can increase your job satisfaction and avoid the burnout that sometimes afflicts those in the caring professions.

After all, PSW courses prepare students to work in such emotionally and physically demanding environments as:

  • long-term care facilities
  • retirement homes
  • hospitals
  • private homes

Some of the clients you may work with after graduating from your PSW courses will be facing very difficult situations. Some may be sick, some may be dying; others may be in constant physical pain or socially isolated. How can graduates of PSW courses keep themselves strong to give these patients the care they so desperately need?

1. Keep in shape: Graduates of PSW courses should keep in good physical shape to keep up with the rigors of the work. You may be asked to massage patients, to help transfer patients from bed to wheelchair, from wheelchair to tub. You may serve as someone to lean on during restorative walks. A regular exercise routine will help you better meet the needs of your patients, and keep your own spirits high.

2. Know your boundaries: As a graduate of a personal support worker course, you may find yourself getting involved with the families of your clients. Always remember that your primary commitment is to the patient. Say no to any superfluous requests. Your patient will appreciate you for it, and you will enjoy your job more.

3. When you get home after a shift, take some time just for you: Life after PSW courses revolves around taking care of others, but don’t forget to take care of yourself! Schedule a massage, take a bath, read a book. Find out what relaxes you, just as you would for the patients in your care.

4. Find an outlet for your emotions: When a patient dies, or moves on to another home, graduates of PSW courses can find themselves experiencing grief. Confide in a trusted colleague, write in a journal, send a letter to the patient’s family explaining how much their loved one meant to you.

5. Take a moment to release the tension from your muscles at least once an hour while on the job: Relax your shoulders. Let out a deep sigh. Do some arm and neck rolls. The more relaxed you are, the more of a comfort you will be to the patients.

As a graduate of a personal support worker course, you will be called upon to assist others in the tasks of daily living. But don’t forget about the care and feeding of you! The happier you are, the more help you will be to your patients. So start practicing relaxation and personal care techniques while you are still enrolled in your personal support worker course.

Contact the National Academy of Health and Business for more information on their Personal Support Worker courses.