Carers’ skills and qualities

We will start by listening to Gavin, a young adult carer transitions worker at Renfrewshire Carers Centre, talking about the skills and qualities he has noticed in the young adult carers he works with.

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Being a carer brings a lot of skills and attributes that often aren’t recognised by carers and other people. First of all in a caring role you have to be em very efficient with your time. Em so carers are normally extremely organised, and that’s something that they don’t see. They’re extremely reliable, er, because they have to make doctor’s appointments on time, they have to hand in prescriptions on time, they have to, er, make sure everything’s done in a certain time. And they have to be relied upon because a lot of, er, people, if they are a carer, sometimes they’re relied upon for the person literally to stay alive. Er, so that’s how important their job is. Very, er, very good at handling pressure. The pressures that they handle on a daily basis, many people would crumble under. Also you tend to find as well that they um, are extremely caring people and that’s why you find a lot of, not just young adult carers, but carers in general end up going into social work or care, care work or people work in some respect, because they have massive amounts of empathy for anybody who’s needing care, anybody who’s needing support. And also just to touch on that as well, that’s something that reflection quite often helps, because with this idea that ‘I’m a carer and the only skills I have is caring for someone, therefore that must mean that I need to go into the caring profession’. When actually on reflection, we tell them no you don’t. It’s great if you want to do that – fantastic. But you don’t have to do that – here’s the other options of the things you can do and here’s how you can get there. Er, also as well, in terms of, a lot of the time they can be quite isolated, but once carers, er make friends, once they are in a group, they show a massive degree of emotional intelligence. Er, that they’re quite often in touch with their own emotions, they can quite often identify other people’s emotions, just at a glance. They show a great deal of empathy towards other people. So once, once they get past that stage and once they come out their comfort zone, in terms of networking and communication, they’re, they’re fantastic. But they’re so, they’ve got so much er, so much skills and personality to bring into employment and education and to life in general.
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Gavin used some of the following key words and phrases to describe carers:

  • organised
  • reliable
  • able to handle pressure
  • caring
  • in touch with their emotions
  • able to identify other people’s emotions.

What are your thoughts about Gavin’s observations? Do you feel you have some of these skills and qualities? Are you organised, reliable, and do you handle pressure well? Are you sensitive to other people’s feelings and understand how to motivate people?

Learning points