Working as a community support worker is one of the most rewarding and meaningful occupations in existence. Whether delivering home care to your patients or care services in a care facility, you get to make a real, positive difference in people’s lives.
However, it’s not all sweetness and light, as community support workers in this field also have to cope with several challenges. It’s important to know what community support workers face in real life, as you don’t want to go through all of your training to find out it’s not for you.
So, come with us now as we look at the challenges community support workers face and how they can be overcome. To deliver the best possible social care, you must overcome these obstacles with your co-workers.
Challenge 1: Navigating Complex Client Needs
When talking about the older people and vulnerable people you care for as a community support worker, they will typically have a complex set of needs that need to be met. You’ve got their obvious physical needs, as well as emotional support.
- Amongst the list of your responsibilities, you’ll find:
- Supporting clients in living more independent lives
- Assisting clients in accessing community facilities
- Help to ensure their personal safety
- Ensuring drink & food is being consumed
- Maintaining accurate client records
For example, when looking after an elderly person in the community (known as a service user), they may need help managing their finances, personal care, going out, and companion care. Human beings are complex, and that’s before you start to consider any health conditions they may have.
How to Overcome: Helping people with complex needs takes training, such as our Aged Care, Counselling & Community Courses. Your professional development as a carer is something you should be working on throughout your career.
Challenge 2: Dealing with Burnout
Another big challenge for the community support workers’ environment is stress and burnout. As a social worker, there will be days when you take your work home and allow it to start affecting your personal life. Irregular hours also play their part in wearing you down, but you can let in influence how you deal with your patients and their family members.
The pandemic showed just how trying care work can be, with loved ones unable to see their relatives suffering in hospital with health problems.
It’s more common than it should be in the community care sector for care providers to become worn out and affected by their own physical and mental health issues. It’s why community support workers need to practice self-care.
How to overcome: Physical fitness is closely tied to mental strength, so you’ll be able to cope with much more by exercising regularly. Also, great free smartphone apps like Headspace and Smiling Mind can help to equip you with the coping strategies you need.
Challenge 3: Managing Time Effectively
As you’ll find out by taking our Work Effectively in the Community Sector course, time management can be another big challenge for community support workers, particularly as you will usually have a big workload each day. If you don’t have a firm grip on time, you’ll struggle.
For example, if you spend too long developing a good relationship with one person, you may not be able to give the next person on your list adequate support. In truth, it’s important in every profession, but none more so than when working in the care sector.
How to overcome: This one is simple - keep a diary. You can’t just wing it when people’s social and physical needs must be met, so keep a paper or digital diary or use one of the many smartphone apps that help you manage time better, like Clockify and Evernote.
Is it the Profession For You?
So, as we’ve covered, when working as a community support worker, your stress levels can go up, you’ll need to be physically and mentally, while also having the ability to manage your time effectively. You’ll also need to have the following qualities...
- Good leadership abilities
- Strong communication
- A resilient personality
- Active listening abilities
- Problem-solving skills
- An empathetic nature
If you have these qualities and a desire to succeed, you have almost everything you need, meaning you just need the relevant training.
Thrive as a Community Support Worker With OCA Online Learning
At OCA, we offer a next-level learning experience that’s both convenient and affordable. As such, our CPD-endorsed, video-based training is a world away from the experience you get with traditional text-based learning options. Ours is mentally stimulating and created in collaboration with top industry experts, so you know everything you’re learning is needed.
To get a closer look at our next-level experience, please watch our short Student Study Demo that highlights all the great stuff we offer, such as 1-to-1 expert mentors, our AI-driven platform that encourages lifelong learning, and the fact you get help whenever you need it.
To see our full course library that covers 20+ professional sectors, please visit us today at www.onlinecoursesaustralia.edu.au, where you’ll also find our flexible payment options that allow you to spread the cost of your training more manageably.
Alternatively, if you want to speak to us before enrolling, call 1300 611 404 or email [email protected], and we’ll be delighted to assist in any way we can.