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Career & Finance Fridays

Employment & Career

Care Aids

My sister-in-law used to be a care aid. Until she hurt her back and wasn’t able to do it anymore.

In a way she was really sad that she could not go back to being a care aid, and in other ways she was glad for the change of careers.

She always talks about how she loved working with the seniors at the home she worked at. She has a special gift for making the elderly feel loved and cared for.

However, she was not sad to see the difficult shift work schedule go from her life. And she was glad that she would be done with the constant stress of being short staffed.

Care Aids are amazing people - their ability to care for others under time pressure and other stress is incredible.

They have a hard job - both physically and emotionally. They are there for end of life care and I know that many of them grieve the loss of their residents because they come to love them like family.

Sure, there are some Care Aids who are simply just there because it’s their job, but I like to believe that people who go into that line of work do so because they have a heart to help and to serve.

Do you know a good Care Aid who has walked alongside your family in difficult times? If so, send them a note to say thanks for all their love and care.

Recommended Book

Patients Come Second

Aug 21, 2018
ISBN: 9781732510234

Interesting Fact #1

Home health aides and personal care aides are the two fastest growing jobs in the United States.


Interesting Fact #2

Many people think of home health care as being a resource for their senior loved ones, but help at home is available for almost anyone who needs it. Whether recuperating from a hospital stay or coping with a long-term disability, home health care services can provide independence and trusted help where and when it is needed most.


Interesting Fact #3

Many people hold the belief that home health care is expensive, and this can certainly be the case, but overall, it is manageable and usually more affordable than an assisted living or nursing home facility.


Quote of the day

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” ― Rosalyn Carter

Article of the day - Health Care Aide Skills: Definition and How to Improve

If you're thinking about a career in health care, you might consider becoming a health care aide, or HCA. HCAs have many skills, and knowing which skills they use on a daily basis can help you understand what abilities to master for success in the field. Understanding what these skills are and how to improve them may help you write a better resume and get invited to an interview. In this article, we explain what health care aide skills are, provide a list for reference, show how to improve HCA skills, and describe these skills in the workplace.

What are health care aide skills?

Health care aide skills are abilities that these aides use to provide care for patients. HCAs play a vital role in the health care industry by providing direct care to patients, including assistance with daily activities, personal care, and medication administration. HCAs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and private residences, and often work under the supervision of registered nurses or other health care professionals. They typically have a diverse skill set that allows them to perform a variety of health care and light clerical tasks.

Health care aide skills

HCAs need a wide range of skills to provide high-quality care to patients. Depending on the specific setting where they work, aides may have more specific technical or soft skills. For example, an HCA in a nursing home might have more experience handling elderly patients. Here are some HCA skills in the workplace:

Basic patient care

The ability to provide basic personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming is important to the role of an HCA. Aides can also help provide patients with meals and maintain their nutritional requirements. Basic care can also include any care or help that a patient's nurse or physician asks of the aide.

Patient transportation

Aides typically have the ability to assist patients with mobility, such as transferring them in and out of bed or a wheelchair. They understand how to use standard transportation tools and equipment and can asses how to best move patients. They also work with other health care professionals to assess the best way to transport patients safely and efficiently.

Basic first aid skills

Basic first aid skills are important for health care aides to know so they can provide immediate care to patients in case of an emergency. These skills can help to stabilize a patient's condition and prevent further injury or harm until more advanced medical treatment is available. Here are some first aid skills for health care aides:

  • Checking for responsiveness: HCAs check for a person's responsiveness if they become unconscious. They understand how to check vital signs, like heartbeats and breathing patterns.

  • Managing bleeding: HCAs can also provide basic first aid for bleeding, such as applying pressure and bandages. They might also apply a tourniquet in rare situations.

  • Treating burns: HCAs can also provide first aid for burns. They might apply bandages or use a burn kit from a first aid kit to apply a salve or other medications.

  • Managing fractures: An HCA can also provide basic first aid for a fracture or break. They might apply a splint in an emergency.

Critical thinking skills

Health care aides also need strong critical thinking skills. This involves being able to analyze information, make judgments, and solve problems in order to provide the best care possible to patients. For example, a health care aide might assess a patient's condition and make decisions about how to provide care, such as choosing the right movement technique or asking for help.

Communication and interpersonal skills

HCAs communicate effectively with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals regarding patient care. This is an important skill because strong communication can influence the level of care for patients and ensure everyone has accurate information. Aides might communicate both digitally and in person with patients and other healthcare personnel.

Time management and organizational skills

HCAs have the ability to maintain a clean, organized environment for the patients and their providers and organize their time to provide the best possible care. This means cleaning up after themselves and patients and creating schedules. They might also help physicians or nurses determine the best times of day for certain patient interactions and treatments.

Empathy and compassion

HCAs are often compassionate, empathetic people that understand the type of stress and worry that health conditions can create for patients and family members. They show compassion by listening to the patient's concerns and communicating their needs to other providers. An empathetic health care aide may also be a more desirable job candidate, as they can connect more effectively with patients.

Physical stamina

Aides spend much of their workday working and standing, which can require physical stamina to ensure they can continue to perform their job duties without feeling fatigue, as it can lead to mistakes. They also help lift and move supplies, patients, and equipment. Aides often work long shifts, so endurance and stamina help them continue to provide care.

How to improve health care aide skills

Improving health care aide skills can help ensure that patients receive high-quality care and that health care aides advance in their careers. Some ways to improve health care aide skills include:

1. Take continuing education courses

You can take specific courses throughout your career to help learn new skills or improve on your existing skill set and patient care methods. You might focus on learning more health-focused skills or soft skills, like software or time management. Consider local or online courses for a more affordable, convenient way to improve your skill set.

2. Specialize in a niche

You can also seek additional training or certification in specific areas, such as geriatric care or emergency procedures. For example, if employers in your area want HCAs with pediatric experience, consider specializing in pediatrics. This can help you during a job search and potentially improve your salary options.

3. Seek patient learning opportunities

Consider seeking opportunities to work with patients who have more complex needs, such as those with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Working with patients in challenging situations can teach you new technical skills and even soft skills, like patience. You may also create a stronger professional network, which you can use to learn further skills and improve your career.

4. Work under a mentor

You can shadow more experienced health care aides or nurses to learn new skills and techniques and improve upon your existing skill set. Consider asking a senior member of your team or organization to mentor you. You can also request to shadow an expert in the field.

5. Learn from workshops

Try to learn new skills by participating in professional development workshops or seminars to learn from experts in the field. Seminars are also a great way to meet new people in the industry and make potentially valuable connections. Consider both online and in-person seminars and workshops to diversify your learning opportunities.

6. Update your industry knowledge

Because the health care industry consistently changes, you can also improve your skill set by keeping up-to-date with changes in health care regulations and policies. Consider subscribing to health care newsletters or other information hubs, so you're always updated. You can also discuss important issues with colleagues, as they may know information you haven't yet learned that can be helpful for improving your understanding of the industry.

Healthcare aide skills in the workplace

Here are some ways to show your HCA skills in the workplace:

  • Provide high-quality care to patients, including addressing their physical, emotional, and social needs.

  • Follow protocols and procedures set by doctors and nurses.

  • Communicate effectively with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.

  • Maintain accurate and detailed records of patient care.

  • Participate in team meetings and other collaborative efforts.

  • Seek opportunities to learn new skills and techniques, and apply them to improve patient care.

  • Be proactive in identifying and addressing potential issues or concerns.

  • Maintain a clean and safe environment for patients.

  • Demonstrate empathy, compassion, and respect for patients and their families.

Question of the day - What do you think would be the hardest part about being a care aid?

Employment & Career

What do you think would be the hardest part about being a care aid?