While necessary training and skills are a must to meet the job requirements, caregivers must also possess professional etiquette. An important skill, professional etiquette, is creating a mutually respectful work atmosphere and improving communication between other caregivers and the residents. If you are a new caregiver, here are some tips to improve your professional etiquette:
- Introduce yourself: As a new caregiver, you must create a positive first impression. To come across as a friendly and confident professional, be ready to introduce yourself to colleagues and others. It’s a good idea that when you introduce yourself, you speak a few sentences about your professional experience – it can be about where you worked last or for how long you have been working, or other important things you would want to share with your peers.
- Watch your body language: Whether you are speaking to colleagues or residents, your body language is an essential part of communication. When you are in a conversation, make sure that you are paying attention. Gazing outside the window, not making eye contact, or looking at your mobile phone – all these send a message that you are not interested in what the other person is saying. Stand tall with your shoulders straight and your chin up and make eye contact. Acknowledge the other person with a sincere smile.
- Talk carefully: As a professional caregiver, you will have to interact with residents and colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds. It is good to chat with them but avoid controversial topics that may result in inadvertently hurting someone. When speaking to residents, lend an ear to what they are saying but do not ask personal questions. If residents do tell you something personal, avoid discussing it with your colleagues.
- Be courteous: Professional caregiving is a challenging job, but you can handle stressful situations by being courteous. To ensure effective communication, always listen to what the other person is saying rather than reacting too soon. Use polite language and good manners no matter how stressful the situation is.
- Dress for success: If you wish to be viewed as a professional and competent caregiver, you should dress like one. Dressing too casually may not send out the right message. In many care homes, there are uniforms for caregivers. If yours also has one, make sure that your dress is neat, ironed and the shoes are professional looking.
Person-centered care – why does it mean everything to professional caregivers?
As a caregiver, you want to spend more time providing person-centered care to residents. However, daily duties such as manually handling MAR sheets and reviewing every entry at the end of the day not only can take up a lot of time but also leave room for errors such as illegible writing, wrong dosage, or missed dosage. Many care homes in the UK have switched to eMAR, an electronic medical records software, that has allowed them to automate and speed up the medication administration processes. If your care home is still using paper MAR sheets, discuss the benefits of using eMAR with your care home manager.