This week we learn all about Tabitha. A compassionate and thoughtful Disability Support Worker originally from South Sudan. Throughout this interview, we have the opportunity to learn about her story and what advice she has for anybody considering this line of selfless work. We hope you enjoy this honest interview.
1. Tell us a little about your background and why you decided to become a Disability Support Worker?
I am of South Sudanese heritage. I was born and raised there. While growing up, I always spent time helping the elderly, cooking for them, feeding them, etc. All my life, I’ve always helped people around me. From when I was a child to where I am today, that trait hasn’t changed. Then I came to Australia in 2006 and at the beginning I decided to work with children as a family day care worker. However, always wanting to help others meant that when I found out about disability support work, then I thought that was more my calling. Helping people so they can be happy is everything to me. Seeing the smile on the face of my clients is enough for me each day.
2. What kind of work do you do on a day-to-day with your clients?
The daily routine for me normally consists of the following tasks;
· Showering your client
· Prepare their meals and snacks
· Help them putting on their clothes
· Take them for a walk
· Take them to the toilet
· Assist them with getting around
3. What strategies do you use to build rapport with a new client?
First, I always start by finding common ground. I do this by asking questions and if I can find something that we both share an interest in, then this would be achieved and I’ll make sure that becomes a discussion topic.
If my client is talking to me, I must listen attentively and carefully, making them feel welcomed to share information with me.
I will always smile and try to relax around them so that they can feel safe.
4. Why did you choose to work with Edmen?
I choose to work for Edmen because they represent what I represent. Their values correspond with mine. These include dignity and respect, by respecting the decisions of the client and how they want to be supported. Learning and reflection, by being honest and transparent and not afraid to admit when you have made a mistake, as well as knowing the boundaries of the client. Commitment to quality and support, by being flexible and always remaining calm in any situation. Making changes when necessary. Being warm, kind, reliable, empathetic and compassionate towards the people you support.
5. What impact do you feel you have on your client’s lives?
I feel I have impacted my clients lives by having them see life differently. I am always a positive thinker, so I make sure that when I leave, they have a smile on their face and try to view the world the same way.
I always want my client to think about the beautiful parts of life and how they have so much to prove by being themselves, and that age is nothing but a number and they can do whatever they want to do.
6. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a Disability Support Worker?
That is an easy question to answer, I feel most fulfilled when I’ve done everything my client has asked me to do, to realise their full potential. If I can be a support to people who need assistance to live their best life, then to me, it makes me feel like I’m making a positive difference in someone's life every day.
7. What do you love most about your role?
Each day is different from the next. I am constantly being challenged and learning something new about myself and the people in my care. You could be doing anything from facilitating group outings to helping with daily household chores. I help my clients develop their own skills and abilities by simply just being a shoulder to lean on. I get to meet new people and push myself to be the best for them. Lastly, I can never come home and say my job is ever boring!
8. What advice do you have for people considering becoming a disability support worker?
These would be my top 10 tips for someone looking to do this for a job;
· Be open minded.
· Willing to try and be flexible for the client.
· Always stay calm.
· If you need to ask, ask it.
· Always be on time.
· Be friendly towards everyone.
· Create a relationship with your client.
· Have good communication.
· Be approachable.
· Be reliable.
And a bonus tip - always be kind, caring, empathetic, honest and generous.
That’s now 11 tips, but you can never have too much advice! haha
9. Would you recommend Edmen to other people looking to work in the industry?
Now that’s the type of carer I want looking after me and my family!