Learning from Caregiving: Top 5 Transferable Skills

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When it comes to caregiving, putting the skills we’ve learned via our academics, life experiences, and career chances to good use is in high demand. Conversely, there are skill sets that only caregiving can teach us that we can apply to other jobs. With returnships and re-employment on the rise, how much value does society place on us with caregiving experiences?

There are multiple direct and indirect benefits of care work. According to a 2014 poll cited by the American Psychological Association, 83% of caregivers view their experiences to have a beneficial impact on themselves. They also mention personal growth, increased meaning, and satisfaction from providing excellent care services. However, care work is also the cause of emotional stress, financial struggles, and physical burnout.

Whether we are providing critical services or practicing care at homes such as childcare and eldercare, is it really possible to return to work after assuming caregiving duties full time?

Identifying our transferable skills

Transferable skills are the skills and abilities we learn that are relevant across different areas of life. They are both hard and soft skills we use to do our professional jobs, perform social roles, and participate in paid or voluntary services.

Care work utilizes many life skills that enable caregivers to thrive in other settings. Qualities such as emotional intelligence, resilience, and professionalism are just three of a long list that employers are increasingly looking for, regardless of the industry. Here are 5 transferable skills used in caregiving that can apply to other working environments.

1.  Work ethics

With care work, responsibility is a matter of life and death. A caregiver’s work ethic makes a huge difference to the quality of care and service is given. This experience is highly valued in industries like hospitality, retail, travel, and education where workers are expected to be respectful, compassionate, and indiscriminate.

2.  Empathy

Whether we work in teams or contribute individually, doing care work is highly interpersonal. Anyone can build relationships and interact with partners, but developing empathy and harnessing it at work requires being sensitive to the needs of others.

3.  Planning and investigation

Caregivers have extensive experience in managing medications, meals, doctor appointments, and social activities. Because care plans can range from simple tasks to complex follow-ups, it’s natural for caregivers to be in troubleshooting mode when something goes wrong and be mentally prepared for risks and emergencies.

4.  Inclusive communication

When a patient or family member has problems communicating, it is up to the caregiver to concentrate, interpret and clarify. Body language and facial expressions are often overlooked but these actions matter when understood correctly. For example, mothers are highly attuned to the needs of children. When communicating, forms of active listening can be beneficial for any team that deals with a wide audience.

5.  Stress management

Caregiving, while done privately, can be extraordinarily rewarding and frustrating. It’s normal to be under pressure when working as a caregiver, but turning bad stress into good stress is a skill that not many workers can learn on the job. In care work, managing stress and adapting to the situation effectively is crucial to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Caregiving is a form of self-care

Here at UCA, we believe that serving others gives self-care a new meaning. When we learn how to give care adequately, there’s a ripple effect that extends beyond the person receiving our care towards ourselves providing that care.

There are other transferable skills and many lessons available to caregivers through personal experiences. Viewing caregiving as a form of self-care may not be obvious, but the more we practice compassion, kindness, and resilience, the more we expand our capacity to care not just about people, but towards our community, the world, and all who live in it.





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