Soft Skills Every Personal Support Worker Needs

Updated on July 23, 2021
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Picture: Matthias Zomer 

Personal support workers (PSW) have an incredibly important job to do. They must care for the most vulnerable members of our communities during periods of ill health, assist with recovery, and provide general care for those who need it the most. With such an integral role, you must have a unique set of soft skills to perform at your best. Whether you’re trying to upskill or enter into a new PSW role, here are a few of those valuable skills for a fulfilling healthcare career. 

Patience and Empathy

When you start looking for new PSW jobs, it’s essential to consider whether you have the patience and empathy required to care for those in need. Many patients in need of personal support workers have physical, mental, and emotional limitations that require high levels of patience and empathy every day. Remember, you will be seeing many people at their lowest points. 

Your ability to put yourself in your patients’ shoes to empathize with their situation and perform your job to a high standard may make you a prime candidate for patient care roles. 


There can often be more than one person involved in a patient’s care. Your job may include taking care of their daily needs, like helping them put their shoes on, providing toileting and showering support, and preparing meals. However, doctors, nutritionists, and other health care staff may also play a part in their overall wellbeing. 

Being able to communicate your observations while caring for them through multiple channels to the people who can help could be crucial to their wellness. It’s also imperative that you’re able to communicate well with the patient to build trust.

Observational Skills

Being able to spot changes in a patient’s physical and mental condition can be crucial for making sure they get the support and care they need. As a result, your job as a personal support worker requires you to be observant. 

Look out for changes in their habits, mood, and even their routines. Small things like not wanting to go for their daily morning walk to lift their mood could indicate a much more severe problem that requires addressing. 

Time Management

Schedules and routines are essential for our most vulnerable members of society. They may require medication at certain times of the day or have dinner at a particular time to fit in other tasks before bed. If you can organize your time, prioritize schedules and routines, and ensure all patient needs are met when they are supposed to be, you may be fitting for a support worker role. 


In a job that can sometimes be stressful and heart-breaking, positivity can be a huge help. Your positive outlook can also impact those around you, leading to a more engaged and happier workplace that may even benefit your patients. 

Studies show that positivity links with job satisfaction and better job-related outcomes. There’s every reason to believe you, your team, and your patients could all benefit from this mindset. 

Working in a support worker role can be hard work, but it can also be enriching when you get to make a difference in people’s lives. Your positivity, time management skills, patience, and empathy, may all be attributes that make your healthcare career a successful and rewarding one. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.