In nursing schools, many students wonder if, while they complete their academic programs, they might be able to work as a personal support worker (PSW). This question is pretty understandable considering that the work these caregivers do in the healthcare sector is somewhat similar to what nurses do, minus the medical assistance. They care for patients, providing them with assistance for their daily activities when they are not physically or mentally able to do it for themselves. So, in this article we will answer the question “can a nursing student work as PSW?”
Yes, it is possible for a nursing student to find a PSW job. These types of jobs are usually available for them at retirement homes or long-term care facilities, under the supervision of an actual registered practical nurse (RPN) or another regulated healthcare professional.
It has been proven that working as a caregiver prior to graduation can benefit nursing students by giving them the opportunity to practice their caregiving skills, learn how to read patients' emotions, and understand common symptoms, as well as understand to solve certain problems, think faster, and perform better. Additionally, getting that work experience, especially if it's caring for elderly or disabled people, can help them develop more empathy and respect towards patients and their families.
Others have said that getting a PSW position while working towards becoming a nurse can help students build confidence, considering the challenges they will have to face in long-term care facilities or retirement homes, such as staffing shortages and heavy workloads. They will definitely enter their nursing careers certain about their skills and their ability to help people overcome their physical and mental limitations.
Another reason why working as a PSW can benefit a nurse is a fact that it gives them a deeper understanding of how emotional, mental, and physically demanding that role can be and how hard it is for these caregivers to handle it all. This is important because most times nurses act as supervisors for PSWs in certain healthcare settings, and in hospitals, they may rely on PSWs to provide care to a larger number of patients at once. Without that direct and personal experience, there is little chance that nurses would ever gain any sense of appreciation for the work that PSWs do and be able to help them achieve their goals for the sake of teamwork and professional partnership.
For students enrolled in an RPN or RN (registered nurse) academic program, there are several requirements they need to meet in order to get a PSW job opportunity, but these depend on the organization where they pretend to work.
According to Personal Support Worker HQ in some cases, they only need to prove they possess adequate skills and knowledge to perform the duties of a personal support worker, but ultimately it is the hiring manager or the Director of Care (DOC) at the long-term care facility or retirement home where the student is looking for a job that makes the decision, based on their own criteria.
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), on the other hand, says that due to pressing needs in long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are helping connect nursing students with these employers, but they must have completed at least one year of studies to be eligible to work as PSWs. This means that the positions that RNAO is helping to fill are reserved for nursing students in their second, third or fourth year.
Other common requirements for nursing students looking for PSW positions are:
Are you currently in nursing school? Are you considering a PSW career in the meantime?
We hope this article has answered some of your questions. And if you need more information, feel free to reach out.
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