New career in healthcare

Thinking about a career in care? This article looks at some options.

Considering a career in a caring profession?

If you're looking to kickstart your career in a caring profession, there are many roles to consider.

Working as a care professional can be extremely rewarding. From self-employed carers to those making a difference in domiciliary care businesses, care homes, mental health, and foster care. We look at options for anyone considering pursuing a career as a carer.

Why work in a caring profession?

Changing jobs or finding work for the first time can be daunting. However, care work is a worthy career. Care workers help clients manage their daily activities and live as independently as possible. While challenging, the job is popular because you are doing something worthwhile and making a real difference.

What is the best fit for you?

There are many types of care businesses to work for in the UK and a wide range of career paths available.

Here are some roles for those considering a move into caring: 

Domiciliary care (home care)

Depending on the person's needs, there are different types of domiciliary care, from respite to live-in care. Also known as home care, this type sees staff help older people or those with disabilities or illnesses in their homes.1

Care workers will be matched to people based on their skills and location and will help with their day-to-day living. Daily care visits, lasting up to an hour, could include tasks such as helping with housework, shopping, preparing food and going out on day trips.

Types include:

  • Companionship care:
    Carers can offer friendship to those who are lonely or could become lonely.
  • Personal care:
    Discreetly helping older people or those with illnesses with daily tasks such as washing, dressing and toileting.
  • Nursing / medical care:
    Care workers will help with medical tasks such as dressing wounds, giving injections, or administering medication.
  • Live-in care workers:
    Live-in care supports those coming out of hospital or families caring for a loved one at home.
  • Respite care:
    Respite care is a temporary service for people needing help when they leave hospital (convalescent care). It also offers families caring for a loved one at home a much-needed break.
  • Dementia care:
    Specially trained care workers enable those with dementia to live as independently as possible. It is estimated about 900,000 people have dementia in the UK, with the figure projected to rise to more than one million by 2025.2

Care homes

Staff at care homes assist residents such as the elderly who live there short-term for respite or permanently. Some employ qualified nursing staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while others provide personal care with district nurses.3

Caring roles are also available at specialist homes, such as for people with dementia needing dedicated support.4

Others specialise in providing palliative care for those with a terminal illness.

Self-employed carers

You may consider becoming a self-employed career to fit your working hours around you. Other advantages include setting your own rates and choosing your own clients. You must want to help people, be sensitive, understanding and patient, and work well under pressure.5

Other jobs to consider

Care assistants, support workers and nursing home assistants are all jobs to consider. However, there are also many other roles:

Hospices

Hospices offer various services such as rehabilitation, complementary therapies and psychological and social support.6

Caring hospice staff comfort terminally ill patients and their families when they need it the most. Trained staff can provide care and bereavement support as well as offer pain and symptom control.6

Mental health service providers

Working in mental health care can make a massive difference to vulnerable people's lives.7

Roles include psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses, social workers and pharmacists. Skilled staff may work on long-stay rehabilitation wards or secure wards, while others offer counselling or community support.

There are also careers in many therapies, such as occupational therapy and drama, music or art therapies.

Foster care agencies

Foster carers look after young people who cannot live with their birth families. You do not need any specific qualifications, but you could take a college course.8

How to get into this career

You can enter a caring role through a college course, apprenticeship or by volunteering.

There are also opportunities to apply directly, or you may have experience of looking after a friend or relative. Care assistants, support workers and nursing home assistants are all jobs to consider. Caring hospice staff comfort terminally ill patients and their families when they need it the most.

Other career paths include roles at foster care agencies and mental health service providers, working on long-term rehabilitation or secure wards.

The National Careers Service has more information.5

Real-world insight that we don't share anywhere else

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