The dictionary defines a care worker as; “a person employed to support and supervise vulnerable, infirm, or disadvantaged people, or those under the care of the state” but that barely scratches the surface of what a care worker is and what they do for our loved ones. That is why we define a care worker as a professional person doing one of the best jobs anyone can do, to care and support a fellow human being.
Yes being a care worker is not something just any one can do, it takes a special kind of person. Yes, it's hard and challenging work, physically, mentally, and emotionally caring for and supporting peoples loved ones, improving their quality of life, and keeping them from harm Yes, it's not the best paying of professions, and while we are at it, let's discuss the elephant in the room, care working can involve carrying out tasks that many people would baulk at
BUT...being a care or support worker is a privilege, it can be great fun, it is life affirming, inspirational, uplifting and hugely rewarding, knowing that you have making a difference.
Sadly though, publicly and socially, our brilliant and amazing workforce, have been undervalued for the essential work they do. Those working in this sector are often seen as low skilled and non - professional simply because the wages are low and that care working does not require a raft of educational qualifications or degrees to start.
There is so much more to being a care worker than meets the eye and NACAS are striving to make this known by being a professional body for care workers to help promote care work as a highly skilled profession and to provide care workers with the recognition they deserve.
The official definition of a professional is “someone who is engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime” however this is typically overlooked, and the question then becomes subjective. Some other answers to this question may be; salary, experience, skills, the job title someone has or their roles within their work.
Due to this subjective outlook of what a professional person is, along with some outdated opinions of care workers and their roles, many care and support workers do not feel like professional people.
This is because there is still stigma that comes from working within the health and social care industry that care workers are unintelligent, low-skilled, and lazy people working a cushy job making cups of tea all day.
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG
We know this is not true and that peoples’ values, morals and attitude are much more important traits for care workers, and they are valued much more than someone's educational history for example, as the role of care and support workers is person-centred and not necessarily academically based.
Care workers are professional people, and it is a goal for NACAS for this to be recognised by everyone, both inside and outside of the profession.