My Experience as a Direct Support Provider

The Healthcare Industry is growing on a daily basis. There is just one small problem with this and that problem is that there are not enough workers willing to engage in this very rewarding and recession-proof career. My experience through working in the healthcare industry was full of emotion, but I learned a lot of skills that I can never forget and although I no longer work in this career, I highly recommend this career choice for caring and compassionate people: becoming a Direct Support Provider.

Why I Became a Direct Support Provider

Working for a local plastic injection molding company for 5 long years inspired me to make a change my career path and establish a new set of goals for myself. I had to admit that the pay was relatively decent, but no amount of money could keep me happy in the monotony of a factory work setting. I felt as if everything I did was wasteful, not only of time, but of money and the environment’s natural resources. It was time for a change, so I decided to take the career path of Direct Support Provider (DSP), a healthcare career choice that is mostly for the compassionate and caring.

What Is a Direct Support Provider?

A Direct Support Provider (DSP) provides direct care to patients at a hospital, residential care facility such as a nursing home or residence for the developmentally disabled, or for an “At-Home Care” provider such as Hospice. Their duties include such things as administering medications, personal care such as toileting and showering, and even cooking and cleaning on some occasions.

Who Can Be A Direct Support Provider?

The most compassionate and caring of people should seriously consider being a DSP, especially those looking to acquire a decent job with good security and want to add meaning to their life. Most training for this career field was given in-house by the company I was working for and it was an entry-level position.

Although getting a job as a DSP is relatively easy, you must go through an extensive background check to be eligible for employment. Any crimes you may have committed will be held against you as you are dealing with people’s lives on a daily basis. Any record of child abuse, sexual abuse, assault, and even drug charges may prevent you from acquiring this position! It’s good thing my record was free and clear of any of that nonsense! You may also have to get your flu shot and other immunizations. A PPD test for tuberculosis is also standard!

What I learned As a Direct Support Provider

During my experience a DSP, I learned many important skills such as taking vitals, proper medication passing procedures, medical issue awareness, medical documentation and how to save a life using CPR/AED and First Aid. I can take these skills anywhere in life and although certain certifications needed to be acquired and renewed on a semi-annual basis, the skills that I learned through providing direct care have padded my resume quite nicely!

I also gained respect from many of my friends and family members and though I am not a nurse in any way, they still come to me with questions about their medical issues. That may seem annoying at times, but it is a sign of great trust and is an honor to be regarded as somewhat of the local medicine-man among my group of friends and the members of my family. The First Aid also comes in handy for fixing neighborhood “boo boos”.

Another valuable lesson I learned during my career as a DSP was the lesson of losing a patient under your care. The lesson of death is not a nice lesson to have learned, but it is an important one. People die every day and this something everyone in the Direct Care field and Healthcare Industry has to get used to. When it is time for them to go, they do, and they always will. Learning to cope with a client’s death is not easy either, but it is equally as important.

It’s Not For everyone

The career of a DSP is not for everyone, and I have learned it is not for me personally either. I worked as a DSP and learned that although I am a very caring and compassionate person, I cannot deal with the responsibility of someone else’s life being in my hands. I have my life and the lives of my family to worry about first, but I do know there is a job in the healthcare industry somewhere. I just haven’t found my niche yet!

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