Professional Caregiver Networking to Expand Your World
Professional caregiver networking is a great way to meet new people and expand your world. The goals of The Caring Generation website for professionals are to:
- Raise the level of professionalism in the caregiving industry through education
- Promote collaboration among professional caregivers
- Educate and raise awareness and sensitivity to issues faced by family caregivers
I hear from many care communities and care agencies that their care staff is “computer illiterate” but smartphone literate. Many individuals who use the Internet on a regular basis fail to understand the benefits of going digital to increase their professional presence, personal knowledge, and social networks.
With smartphones, I-pads, electronic readers, and access to computers at the library, having access to the benefits of technology has become easier. It’s a great way to participate in professional caregiver networking.
Just as many of our elderly clients become isolated and lonely with age and time, so will individuals who care for these older adults if we fail to embrace good habits of building social networks and using electronic communication tools to avoid our worlds from becoming smaller with age.
Many older clients are socially and emotionally lonely because of widowhood, loss of friends, and physical or mental declines. For older adults, there is a difference between knowing, wanting, and being able to build social networks that is less a factor for individuals who are active and still working.
What might you do each week, if only for 30 minutes, to build your professional presence, personal knowledge, and social networks and to support your residents and patients in doing the same?
You may or may not be aware of the importance of having a LinkedIn profile to advance your career. If you are looking to upskill to a new position and you don’t have a profile, you’ll be at a disadvantage with others competing for similar positions. Having a professional caregiver network can make it easier to land your next job.
Having a LinkedIn profile allows you to connect with other professionals in your industry, research information, and request introductions to others you might like to meet. Building your connections also allows you to have a network of “go-to” people when you need information or have a question.
For example, you work at a hospital and wonder who the admissions person is at ABC nursing home. I suspect that if you posted that question to your network you would receive a quick response.
Another example might be looking for a resource providing a specific type of service or product. Posing the question to your network would likely provide a range of responses and is a great time-saver as compared to searching the internet and making 20 phone calls to people or businesses you do not know.
Joining Facebook offers similar benefits but on a more personal level. Most Facebook users are able to locate high school and college friends and easily stay in touch with friends and family. Due to the time constraints of keeping in touch with family and friends, Facebook is a quick way to update others on your activities and personal interests.
That being said, remember that what is posted on the Internet remains forever. Take care not to post photographs, personal opinions, and posts that you would not wish to appear on the front page of the newspaper with your name as the author. Or any information you would not want a future employer to see.
Unlike what “happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, the information you post on the internet may be damaging years down the road when an employer or other party is investigating your background. That photo of the tattoo you posted on your backside may lose you your dream job and you’ll never know it.
If your caregiving expertise falls into a certain category, for example, nursing, assisted living, home care, or financial management consider joining an online professional association. Most, if not all, professional associations have extensive websites offering continuing education, and the ability to connect with their members who may also serve as advisors when you are seeking information.
The Internet offers unlimited access to expand your world. Spending 30 minutes a week to advance your professional presence, become more educated, and expand your world has significant benefits. If you are reading this you have a network ready and waiting to meet you.
Teach your family members and your parents what you learn so that when your parent age — or if they are already retired — they might lessen the effects of social and emotional isolation by accessing the infinite, ever-growing world of electronic communication and the Internet.
If you work in a caring community and see residents who are isolated, share your computer and internet talents with them so that they may become more connected.
By expanding your learning and your talents you are able to share with others and in doing so, build your network that will be valuable years down the road when you become one of the older adults that today you serve. Make time for professional caregiver networking to broaden your world.
Looking for more resources for caregiving families or yourself, check out Pamela’s complimentary online webinar program about caring for elderly loved ones.
© 2019 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.
©2014, 2022 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.