Jo's story

Finding the right career path can be a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Jo's story is a perfect example of how pursuing a passion for healthcare can lead to a fulfilling career. Highlighting the rewards, challenges, and valuable lessons learned along the way, explore Jo's transition from being a disability support worker to becoming a Care Coordinator at Programmed Care.

A shift in career focus

From a young age, Jo dreamt of becoming a nurse. However, a squeamishness toward blood led Jo down a different path. It wasn't until Jo left the travel industry in early 2020 that the opportunity to dip her toes into the world of care emerged. Jo decided to start her journey with a Cert III in Individual Support, opening the door to a new career as a Disability Support Worker. Following the completion of her certificate, Jo found a role advertised on the Programmed job board, supporting clients in her local area.

Working as a Disability Support Worker proved to be a welcome change for Jo, providing an escape from the confines of a regular 9-5 job and allowing for valuable family time. Jo's social and outgoing nature found solace in this role, relishing the opportunity to meet new people and build genuine connections with those she supported.

Within her varied workload, Jo discovered the most rewarding aspect of her role—encouraging clients to participate in activities when they felt unmotivated and inclined to stay home. Witnessing the joy on a client's face when they stepped outside or engaged in simple activities like walking to a local café for a takeaway coffee was incredibly refreshing and reinforced Jo's commitment to making a positive impact.

Dispelling preconceived myths

Before joining the industry, Jo held certain misconceptions about the role of Disability Support Workers. However, her firsthand experiences quickly dispelled these myths, allowing her to gain a more accurate understanding.

One prevailing myth was that disability support workers primarily work with older clients. Jo shattered this misconception by discovering that clients of all ages, including those in their 20s, lead active and social lives, requiring support and companionship.

Another common misconception Jo encountered was the belief that Disability Support Workers primarily provide personal care. In reality, Jo found that while personal care is indeed a part of the job, the majority of her days involved meaningful social engagement. From visits to the local library to enjoyable outings at the beach, Jo's role encompassed a wide range of activities aimed at fostering social connections and enhancing clients' quality of life.

Promotion to Care Coordinator

Recognising Jo's talent and determination, Programmed Care management offered her a promotion to the role of Care Coordinator after just 12 months. In this new position, Jo's key responsibilities include monitoring and coordinating support plans, educating clients about their conditions, and connecting them with the right Support Workers.

One of the things Jo loves about being a Care Coordinator is the diversity of each day. From covering shifts for absent support workers to meeting with clients and learning about their goals, Jo's tasks encompass a range of activities. Additionally, Jo handles rostering new clients with suitable support workers and manages the necessary paperwork—a vital aspect of maintaining efficient operations.

Jo attributes the ease of her transition from a Disability Support Worker to a Care Coordinator to the support and camaraderie of her team. Her experience as a Support Worker has equipped her with valuable insights into effectively managing a client's schedule, ensuring they derive maximum benefit from each visit. Another significant advantage is Jo's in-depth knowledge of client needs, enabling her to match clients with compatible Support Workers, fostering motivation and building relationships beyond the home. While Jo may no longer directly support clients in their homes every day, she understands the critical importance of the work she performs behind the scenes in coordinating and refining client plans.

A rewarding journey

When asked for advice to someone considering a career in community care, Jo wholeheartedly encourages them to give it a try. Reflecting on her experience, Jo expresses immense satisfaction and gratitude for the incredible friendships formed with both clients and fellow Disability Support Workers. The rewards of making a difference in the lives of others far outweigh any challenges faced along the way.

Jo's career transition from a Disability Support Worker to a Care Coordinator exemplifies the transformative power of following one's passion. Jo found her calling in community care, forging connections, challenging preconceptions, and embracing the diverse responsibilities of her role. Jo's journey reminds us that sometimes the most fulfilling careers are the ones we stumble upon unexpectedly.

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