Despite meticulously created curricula aimed at developing skills and teaching all necessary knowledge essential for a young professional in a work setting, there are issues that cannot be properly trained in the classroom. Indeed, when it comes to practice and proper completion of job tasks, an individual does not only use the skills and knowledge obtained during studying. On the one hand, such knowledge is predominantly theoretical and is aimed at developing a general understanding of the profession, as well as preparing students for the completion of most common tasks. On the other hand, the educational aspect of learning at school implies students’ reliance on teachers and the overall understanding that the learning setting does not involve a real-life level of responsibility. In addition to immediate professional skills, one learns external lessons that contribute to their expertise exceptionally through the job setting. In my work as a caregiver, I was taught about the importance of communication style development, patience, and problem-solving skills.
Firstly, the development of my communication style and improving my communication skills were one of the valuable lessons I learned through my job. Although the communication aspect of the work of a caregiver has been addressed in my education, the theoretical knowledge did not provide me with enough confidence in interactions. Through my practice with the clients, I had an opportunity to establish the best communicative styles, techniques, and approaches that helped me build meaningful relationships with others, both patients I served and co-workers. As I continued my practice of interpersonal communication, I obtained implicit feedback and was able to assess my successes and failures in achieving my goals. For example, at first, I spoke without proper confidence about the interventions with the clients, although I had good skills. Due to the lack of confidence in communication, I felt a lack of trust from the patients. Therefore, I adjusted my communicative style to demonstrate confidence to encourage patients.
Secondly, the lesson I learned outside school was the importance of patience through respect. In school, it is unlikely that a textbook or a lecturer will deliberately teach one how to be patient when working with patients. It is impossible to accomplish because each patient is a unique person and working with each of them requires a special approach. In my practice, I gained patience with experience, which, I think, is impossible to obtain in any other way. It is through reflection and the continuous search for improvement that allows a caregiver to achieve proficiency. Being impatient might hinder the quality of work and jeopardize professional development in general. In my experience, the situations when I did not exhibit enough patience in working with my clients led to conflicts and distress in me and my environment. Therefore, I managed to control my patience by motivating myself with the purpose of my work and the greater goals I pursue by helping others. In such a manner, patience is an important aspect of work, not only for working with patients but also for the achievement of larger professional goals.
Thirdly, I managed to learn more about the practical application of problem-solving skills and use them proficiently with my clients and in a professional team. The knowledge I learned during my education was a solid foundation for approaching problematic situations with clients. However, the understanding of the necessity of problem-solving techniques did not provide me with enough practical insights on how to implement them under different circumstances. The search for solutions often involves improvisation, the ability to ask proper questions and contact the right people. In my work as a caregiver, I have advanced my problem-solving skills through the management of family issues with my clients’ family members by facilitating their communication. In my professional setting, I was able to develop a good command of resolving conflicts by showing respect to the opponents and referring to the common goals. Moreover, the ability to apply problem-solving skills has been an important attribute of my work as an educator with my clients. I help them find proper means of tackling problematic issues in their life as well. This skill is inherently derived from my experience and reflection, which cannot be properly actualized at school
Conclusively, the analysis of the skills and lessons I learned through my job as a caregiver allowed me to identify the aspects of the profession that reach beyond classroom education. With the help of communication style adjustment, I was able to improve my interaction with clients and colleagues exhibiting confidence and gaining trust. Patience through respect has become one of my strong qualities which I obtained with practice and experience. Furthermore, the development of problem-solving skills has occurred under the influence of the repeated tackling of conflict situations and stressful cases. In such a manner, the experience I gained through my work has contributed to the knowledge I had upon completing my education. Thus, professional experience is valuable due to its immediate contribution to the practical aspects of the performed job.