Want to get into healthcare but unsure where your future lies? Find everything you need to know about nursing and care careers at Prestige Nursing and Care.
Careers in the social care sector are both varied and rewarding. However, for those interested in health and social care careers, making sense of all the different options can be challenging. Two of the most common routes into the social care sector include becoming a nurse and being a care worker. Both of these directly involve providing the vulnerable with care and meeting their needs, but have different responsibilities and require different routes into them.
Becoming a carer
A care worker provides vulnerable people, such as the disabled or elderly, with support and supervision, either in the form of homecare or in a residential care setting.
Care workers carry out a wide range of tasks that their clients need help with. This includes assisting with tasks such as washing, eating and getting dressed, and can also involve helping people to maintain their independence by leaving the house. Care workers also have more specific healthcare-related responsibilities, such as looking after dressings, administering medication, and monitoring temperature, blood pressure or respiration as required.
Becoming a carer requires flexibility, and a willingness to learn and respond to clients’ needs. Good interpersonal skills are also a valuable asset, and the ability to relate to and work well with others – while also working well independently – is vital.
Becoming a nurse
Nursing is an incredibly broad profession, and nurses work right across the spectrum of providing healthcare – from mental health to paediatric nursing. Many are directly involved in the provision of social care, with Skills for Care estimating that there are over 50,000 registered nurses in its workforce. While nurses make up only a small part of the total social care workforce, they are vital to its effective functioning.
Nurses work either as part of a team or as an individual to deliver care, and their responsibilities are numerous. The role typically involves providing care, administering medications, and assessing vulnerable people’s care requirements – but can also involve much more. As nurses’ skillsets become more advanced they can move from being a registered nurse to a nurse practitioners – who have significantly more responsibilities.
As with care work, becoming a nurse requires good interpersonal skills, empathy and an ability to work well with others. Nurses additionally need to be very well organised, good communicators, and have specific nursing skills.
Pathways to care
Becoming a carer is open to anybody with the empathy and enthusiasm for the role, and while there are formal qualifications that can be obtained, training can also be done while on the job.
Nursing requires more formal qualifications than care work does, with those looking to work in the sector needing to study a course accredited by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).