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The Caring Support Blog

Personal Support Worker Skills

April 29, 2021

Personal Support Workers (PSW) are among the most resourceful and skillful workers in healthcare. Since their work is to provide support to patients and clients with different physical needs, they are required to have certain hard and soft skills that are essential for their success. Continue reading to find out the Personal Support Worker Resume Skills to excel as a worker in this field.

Personal Support Workers (PSWs) Skills

These are the PSW skills that all personal support workers learn during their training and then get to perfect overtime on the job.

Medical Knowledge

PSWs need to know how the human body works and understand the function of each of the body systems. This knowledge will allow them to identify health problems, as well as properly alleviate aches and pains their patients may feel.

Common Health Conditions of the Elderly

A great percentage of PSWs work with the elderly population, and to do this they need to understand the most common health conditions that affect senior citizens and predict possible complications. These conditions include arthritis, health disease, diabetes, etc.

Mental Health and Cognitive Problems

PSW workers need to have at least broad knowledge about common cognitive problems and mental health issues that their clients could suffer from, such as depression, anxiety, dementia, but also brain tumors. Knowing about these conditions will help them identify and treat their symptoms better.

Support and Assistance

PSWs' main duty is to provide support and assistance to those who need it with daily tasks like personal hygiene. Therefore, they need to know how to properly bathe, groom, and dress their patients, among other activities.

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One of the tasks personal support workers need to do is documenting their patient’s progress to keep their physicians informed about their health condition, responses to new medication, and any changes that may occur in their physical or mental state.

Nutrition Knowledge

PSWs are usually in charge of feeding their patients and making sure they are well hydrated. They can also be in charge of meal preparation and grocery shopping. This is the reason why they need to learn about nutrition since it is one of the most important ways they can keep their patients healthy.

Medication Administration

Sometimes PSWs are required to administer medication to their patients under the supervision of their physicians. To be able to do this, caregivers need to understand how common medications work, dosages, and techniques to properly administer them.

Mobility and Machinery Operation

PSWs usually have to assist patients with limited or no mobility. To do this, they need to know proper lifting and pivoting techniques and how to operate mobility assistive machinery like sit-to-stand lifts and Hoyer lifts.

Personal Support Workers (PSWs) Soft Skills

PSW Soft skills are equally important as hard skills, as they facilitate their daily work activities by helping them better communicate with their patients, focus, control their emotions, interact with their coworkers and clients, and much more. Some of these psw skills come naturally to certain people, while others need to be acquired through training, experience, and intentional development.

Communication Skills

PSWs need to be able to communicate effectively with everyone around them, but communication skills are more than that; they also involve non-verbal communication and the ability to listen and comprehend what others are saying and what they really mean. This type of skill is so important that it is essential to all career paths, not just healthcare.

Interpersonal Skills

These are the skills that allow people to interact with others effectively. Interpersonal skills include being a good team player, knowing how to collaborate, and having conflict management and resolution skills.


Developing this particular skill is crucial for providing caring support to patients. Empathy allows PSWs to understand what their patients are feeling and to attend to them with patience, respect and kindness.


Similar to empathy, compassion helps PSWs engage with their patients and treat them with the tenderness and calmness they need, especially when it comes to mentally impaired patients, who are often scared, confused, or completely unaware of their surroundings.

personal support worker

Problem-Solving Skills

Personal support workers should be able to solve any situation that comes their way quickly and efficiently, always putting the wellbeing of their patients first. An excellent PSW knows how to anticipate challenges, find creative solutions and avoid getting caught up on challenges too long.


A good PSW is flexible and adaptable, considering that working with people can be unpredictable and every day is different than the day before. Flexibility is a great tool because it allows PSWs to quickly change their mindset and adjust their approach to any given situation when things don’t go as planned.


PSWs should be self-motivated, but also able to motivate others. They must be aware of how much their attitude influences their patients and how their words can motivate them to work as a team to achieve their common goals. If a PSW is a good motivator, they can encourage patients to be more active, optimistic, and independent.


PSWs usually work with people they don’t necessarily like, and that is okay. Sometimes their patients’ family members, coworkers, or supervisors can be hard to talk to or likely to make unrealistic demands, but PSWs should conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times, and this will help them succeed in this challenging career as well as teach others to treat them with respect and professionalism.

Time Management

PSWs find that time management skills and the ability to organize their tasks are very helpful in their careers. Most of them work with multiple patients at a time and they need to manage their workload in order to care for everyone and attend to their individual needs, which is why these skills are crucial.

All of these skills, hard and soft, are abilities that help PSWs perform their daily activities with ease and provide the best service to their patients. For instance, hard skills help them perform personal hygiene or housekeeping activities, but soft skills help them talk to their patients and make them feel safe and confident. Also, listening to patients with empathy and compassion helps PSWs identify their needs, understand their behavior, and predict possible changes. Finally, communication skills help them provide support to their patients’ families and reassure them that their loved one is in good hands.

About The Author
Laura Woodman
Content Marketing Specialist

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