Interpersonal skills refer to any skill that makes interaction and communication between yourself and others easier and more open. Given that personal support workers (PSW) spend so much time caring for and interacting with clients, interpersonal skills are an essential part of their work. While many people have the mistaken belief that such skills are innate, the truth is that they can be taught and developed over time.
In fact, an important part of PSW training is developing interpersonal skills. As a PSW, you’ll use the skills learned during training extensively while on the job. Here are just three ways you’ll put your interpersonal skills to use if you pursue a career as a PSW.
Talking with Clients Is an Important Part of Your PSW Career
PSWs help with many practical activities such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and housekeeping. What you may not realize, however, is that a key part of a PSW’s job is simply talking to clients. Some clients may feel socially isolated because of their health condition, especially if it prevents them from leaving their home very often. Being able to provide conversation helps decrease this feeling of isolation and can improve their overall mental health.
Your interpersonal skills help facilitate this social aspect of your career. For example, by maintaining a positive and friendly demeanour, you can help your clients feel cared for and safe opening up to you. Likewise, showing empathy through both verbal and nonverbal communication will help clients know they can trust you and talk freely with you.
Active Listening Helps PSWs Identify the Individual Needs of Clients
Active listening is a key interpersonal skill to have during your PSW career. By actively listening, you show your clients that you are engaged in what they are saying. You can indicate that you are actively listening by maintaining eye contact, acknowledging what the client is saying, and, once they are done speaking, responding in a way that directly addresses what they have just said.
Active listening helps build trust and comfort between yourself and clients. Furthermore, as you will learn during your personal support worker courses, PSWs respect the individuality of their clients by recognizing that each one has different needs. Through active listening you can better understand what those needs are so that you can respond to them effectively.
Interpersonal Skills Help PSWs Provide Support and Reassurance to Family
PSWs don’t just communicate with clients; they also communicate with their clients’ families. Indeed, families will understandably want to make sure that their loved one’s PSW is compassionate and trustworthy.
Furthermore, family members may turn to you to learn how they can help assist in the care needs of their loved one. It’s one of the reasons why the training provided in a personal support worker diploma program includes how to assist family members. With your interpersonal skills, you can more effectively communicate to them how they can provide such assistance, helping them feel empowered and supported.
Are you ready to take the first step towards a PSW career?
Contact Anderson College to learn about our programs!