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Working as an agency care assistant - good or bad?

Posted by Sarah Gibbins

Working as an Agency Carer isn’t for everyone. However, it’s an amazing way of working for many if you get it right. Here we explore the keys to getting it right and what it’s actually like to work as an Agency Care Assistant.

GETTING IT RIGHT AS AN AGENCY CARE ASSISTANT

A lot of people can be put off working as an Agency Care Assistant because they get off on the wrong foot. Here are our top tips:

Choose Well

Many nursing agencies are not great. Do your research! Always read their reviews and explore their social media presence. You’ll clearly see whether an agency aligns with your values and prioritises people. Trust your instincts and choose wisely!

Know What You Want

Agency working is a great lifestyle choice if it suits you. Think about how you want to spend your time, how much money you need/want to earn and how you want to feel at work. Speak to Agency recruiters and make sure you feel confident they will meet your expectations. It’s easy to stumble into a work choice. Take the time to think about what’s important and then find the best way to make that happen.

Challenge the Way You Think

You do not have to conform to the “normal” way of doing things. Working with an agency doesn't have to be a short-term solution; it can be a rewarding and balanced long-term career option if approached with dedication and excellence.

Will You Get What You Need/Want

Be brave and direct at interview. If you’re clear about what you need or want to earn and how/where that works for you, make sure you are confident the agency can give you that.

Be Good

Embrace success! When you contribute your best efforts in a fantastic care agency and maintain open communication, you're in for a treat. By being reliable and staying connected to your commitments, you'll benefit from the incredible perks of working with an agency and make the most of this rewarding way of life.

Flexible Living

One of the major advantages of agency work is the freedom it brings. Agency Care Assistants have the flexibility to choose shifts and hours. This is mega. Want to work loads, or not much. Want to take 3 weeks off to lie in a hammock in Bolivia? Don’t want to work Sundays ‘cause that’s Dart Night….Agency workers do not have rotas forced upon them. Having the freedom to control how much and when you work is a massive tick in achieving work/life balance and making adjustments as life demands.

Caught in a Trap

Many people in care can get cabin fever as they live out the routine of being in the same place everyday working with the same people doing the same stuff. For many, this provides the routine and security they need. For others, it’s stifling and boring. In Agency you will get to work in places consistently and get to develop relationships and see the benefits of the care being provided, but you can also change things up by speaking to the agency and telling them what you want. New faces, different environments, and seeing different ways of doing things not only keeps the job interesting but also helps develop a wide range of skills.

On Shift

During a typical shift, you may find yourself assisting with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. These tasks require a compassionate approach and a deep understanding of each individual's unique needs. Your ability to provide personal care with dignity and respect is crucial in fostering a sense of trust and comfort. In addition to these routine tasks, an agency healthcare assistant may also be involved in monitoring vital signs, administering medication under supervision, and supporting individuals with mobility issues. This range of responsibilities demands attention to detail and the ability to diligently follow healthcare plans.

Talk and Listen

Effective communication is another essential aspect of excelling in this role. Collaboration with healthcare professionals, family members, and other members of the care team is frequent. Clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the needs and preferences of the individuals under your care.

To get the best out of agency life, keep talking to the people who book you on shift. If the agency uses technology to do this or you speak to a different person every time, it might make this more difficult. A good thing to check out before you join them!

Care Well

Empathy and patience are virtues that shine brightly in the world of agency caregiving. This is no different to any type of care. As an Agency Care Assistant you still need to Care Well and put your heart into it. You will encounter people with diverse backgrounds, personalities, and health conditions. A compassionate approach and the ability to actively listen is vital to the emotional and general well-being of those you support.

Be Flexible

Flexibility must go two ways with Agency for you to get the best out of it. Things do change a lot in Agency and you must be flexible and be prepared to adapt. Can’t do that? Agency might not be for you. It also involves adapting to the evolving needs of the individuals you care for. Being open-minded and adaptable means better care for the people you are supporting.

Bring Your Best

Maintaining a positive and uplifting attitude can make a world of difference. Enthusiasm is contagious. Be that person who brings light to each situation. Make a difference on each shift to the people you work alongside and those you assist. It’s easy to think you’re just there for one shift and it’s not important. Challenge yourself to bring your best to each shift you do. You’ll get it back in spades if you can do this consistently.

IN A NUTSHELL

Working as an agency healthcare assistant gives you flexibility, variety, and the opportunity to make a positive impact on people's lives while keeping yourself in tip top shape. It requires technical skills, effective communication, and personal qualities such as empathy, patience, adaptability, and a positive attitude. Many people don’t see beyond selling their time for money in any walk of life. This applies just the same in care and in agency care too.

Take the time to think about what is really important to you including how you want to feel. Agency can give you the flexibility to design your life just how you want it….which is not the case with many fixed hour, fixed location positions.

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