Is Working as a Private PSW Right For You?

In Ontario, personal support workers (PSWs) can either work for publicly funded healthcare facilities or for private companies that offer similar services. In this article we will focus on private PSWs, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of going the private way in this career, and ultimately helping you decide if working as a private PSW is right for you.

What Does it Mean to Work as a Private PSW?

Private personal support workers are caregiving professionals that work for privately owned healthcare organizations, such as private home care agencies, nursing homes, and long-term care centers. In Ontario, where home care is publicly funded, these private companies provide much-needed relief to families that don’t qualify for publicly funded care or families that do but want to add extra hours or services to their current care plan.

Privately owned healthcare organizations are constantly hiring personal support workers to work with the elderly, children, people with disabilities, or even expecting mothers, helping them become more independent. These services are usually paid for by patients and clients through financial support, private insurance, employee benefit plans, or out-of-pocket.

Private PSWs can also work on their own as independent caregivers, without the representation of a home care agency. Those who work under this format usually advertise their services online or get recommended to families in need through word of mouth in a community.

Advantages of Working as a Private PSW

One of the first decisions a recent PSW graduate needs to make is working in either the public or the private sector. Or course, they both have their benefits and their challenges. These are some of the pros of private PSW job:

Flexibility

As a private PSW, you usually get to choose your hours, the services you can provide, and the number of families you want to work with at a time. Independent PSWs get even more flexibility because they get to negotiate the terms of their services on their own and set a schedule that suits them best. Having this freedom is something that part-time or occasional caregivers appreciate the most about working in the private sector because it allows them to keep other jobs and attend to other responsibilities they might have.

Work Experience

Private PSWs get to accumulate more work experience faster because they get to enter the workforce right away once they complete their training, which lasts for less than a year. This allows them to develop their nursing and social skills in a variety of settings and with many different types of clients, something that will benefit them as they move forward in their careers.

Job Opportunities

Since privately owned healthcare organizations are constantly looking for new staff members, there are plenty of job opportunities in the private sector for PSWs and in multiple settings, not just home care agencies.

Career Advancement

Thanks to the diverse work experience that working as a private PSWs provides, caregivers have the opportunity to easily transition into other careers in healthcare and become nurses or pharmacy assistants, for instance.

Professional Satisfaction

Personal support workers have the opportunity to do meaningful work for their communities, making a positive difference in the lives of those who they care for. They get to spend quality time with their patients and clients in their own homes, easing their pains, helping them in their daily activities, and providing them with company and conversation that contributes to their mental and emotional health. This is one perk that other careers in healthcare don’t have.

Disadvantages of a Private PSW Job

Workload

Personal support workers in the private sector are usually work for home care agencies or are directly hired by families to care for their loved ones in their own homes, instead of going through public health care or hospital services. In this type of setting, their work tends to be more intensive because they work longer hours and provide many additional services like grocery shopping, cooking, companionship, administering medications, or support to the entire family.

Multiple Patients

The personal support workers that work in a home care agency, private hospices, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes usually provide services to multiple patients or families at a time, which multiplies their workload and leaves little time for a healthy work-life balance.

Private PSWs Shift Work and Inconsistent Pay

Oftentimes, private nursing homes and similar facilities offer rotating shifts to their PSWs or keep them in an on-call status, without giving them the option of working regular hours. As a result, their pay changes from one week to another and they usually have a hard time scheduling other activities since they never know when they will have to work.

In conclusion, the demand for a personal support worker in Ontario keeps increasing and this caregiving career remains among the most attractive for people looking for a new professional path or for recent high school graduates looking to work in the healthcare sector without investing the amount of time and resources necessary to get an education in most of the other occupations. Working as a private PSW is just one of the ways people can start their career in this field, and like any other type of job, people should consider every pro and con before making a final decision about it.

So, did we answer all your questions about this topic? If you have any other doubts or comments, let us know in the comment section below.

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