If you have a passion for making the world a better place, then you might want to consider one of these caring professions. It’s not easy to land one of these positions, but it’s worth it because they provide immense personal and professional satisfaction.
Here Are The Top 12 Most Caring Professions That Make The World A Better Place:
1. Peace Corps Volunteer Program
The Peace Corps Volunteer Program is a government program based in the United States which sends volunteers to participate in community development projects in developing countries around the world.
There have been over 50,000 Peace Corps volunteers since its inception in 1961 and they have built schools and clinics, installed irrigation systems, created fishing villages, built roads and bridges, provided literacy education as well as many other community development projects.
To volunteer with the Peace Corps, you will need either a bachelor’s degree or 5 years of work experience.
2. Physician Assistant [PA]s
Physician Assistants [PA]s are healthcare professionals who have obtained a three-year bachelor’s degree, passed a rigorous licensure examination, passed a state board examination, and completed one year of post-degree training. Physician Assistants work under the supervision of physicians in many areas ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics to surgery.
A PA may find themselves diagnosing, developing, and adjusting treatment plans, prescribing medication, and ordering tests.
3. Licensed Practical Nurses [LPN]
Licensed Practical Nurses have licensed healthcare professionals who have completed an accredited nursing education program. They provide nursing care under the supervision of Registered Nurses or physicians and may perform many different duties such as administering medication or changing bandages.
In many states, LPNs conduct health histories, temperature readings, and blood pressure checks of patients to determine if additional medical treatment is needed.
Related Resource: Top Career Options for Nurses in 2022
It is estimated that there are fewer than 54,000 surgeons in the United States today. These professionals are responsible for the medical treatment and prevention of human illness.
They are responsible for repairing or performing reconstructive surgery on individuals who have suffered an injury or accident, often saving lives.
To become a surgeon, you need at least five years of work experience and a bachelor’s degree in any field. In addition to the standard requirements, additional education requirements are depending on the subspecialty that you wish to pursue.
Veterinarians treat animals by applying the principles of medicine and surgery to their health care needs and making recommendations. They examine animals for medical problems and make decisions regarding treatments such as vaccinations or antibiotics.
In addition to having some veterinary education, veterinarians must pass a state board examination before they can practice.
6. Clinical Mental Health Counselors
Clinical Mental Health Counselors provide guidance, counseling, and intervention to individuals who are experiencing distress due to anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Their goal is to help the individuals overcome their problems through education, treatment, and support.
To work as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor, you will need a bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate degree from a clinical mental health counseling program. You will also need to complete supervised training throughout your progression towards gaining your license.
7. Licensed Social Workers [LSW]
Licensed Social Workers provide individuals with counseling services that help them deal with life’s challenges such as family problems, school problems, work-related stress, and relationship issues. LSWs often deal with very difficult situations involving abuse and neglect of children, suicide, or domestic violence among others.
8. Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists [LMFT]
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists work with individuals, couples, and families on a wide variety of issues including marital problems, grief and loss, stress management, behavioral problems, and divorce.
While LMFTs must have a master’s degree in marriage or family therapy, they often work with other therapists such as nurses or psychiatrists who are also involved in treatment.
9. Licensed Clinical Social Workers [LCSW]
Licensed Clinical Social Workers provide services to individuals and families who are experiencing mental health-related issues such as depression or anxiety. They may conduct evaluations for certain types of mental illness and provide therapy sessions for clients.
10. Marriage & Family Therapists [MFT]
Marriage and Family Therapists work with individuals or families who are experiencing mental health-related issues such as stress or depression. MFTs often help individuals make changes in their behavior that will improve the quality of their relationships and the balance of responsibilities at home and work.
They often coordinate treatment with other professionals that treat these issues such as psychiatrists, social workers, and psychologists.
Psychologists conduct evaluations to determine if a person has a mental illness. They may also provide counseling for clients to help them cope with life’s challenges and change negative behaviors or thought patterns that may be contributing to emotional distress.
12. Animal Care Services
Animal care services are an important part of the veterinary industry. They help animals in need and provide them with the necessary care they need. Animal care services provide a variety of services for animals that are suffering from different ailments. These range from physical rehabilitation to psychological counseling and behavior modification therapy.
Animal care specialists can work at animal shelters, veterinary clinics, zoos, sanctuaries, or even pet stores. Animal care specialists provide a variety of services for animals that are suffering from different ailments. These range from physical rehabilitation to psychological counseling and behavior modification therapy.
Caring for others can take its toll
Being exposed to other people’s strong emotions can take its toll on the mental health of people working in a caring profession. Dealing with the difficult issues and problems of others can be stressful and can result in either compassion fatigue or burnout.
What is compassion fatigue?
Compassion fatigue is a stress reaction that occurs when individuals are exposed to prolonged periods of traumatic events. It can also be developed after dealing with the same traumatic event over and over again.
These events can be actual trauma, such as witnessing an accident, or emotional trauma, such as listening to patients spell out their stressful situations. Signs of compassion fatigue include irritability, feeling like a failure, sleep problems, and nervousness.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a negative effect that occurs when people become too exhausted by their duties that they feel little motivation to continue working.
Burnout usually results from long-term exposure to camaraderie and responsibility, which can include military personnel, police officers, paramedics, and other emergency personnel. Recent studies have shown that compassion fatigue and burnout for social workers are more common than previously thought.
The main causes of burnout for social workers are prolonged exposure to prolonged trauma (such as witnessing abuse or neglect), loss of a loved one or family member, or victims of child abuse.
What are the differences between Compassion Fatigue and Burnout?
Compassion fatigue is defined as “a specific form of stress resulting from helping others, characterized by decreased emotional numbing, less energy, and more anxiety.” It develops after dealing with the same traumatic event over and over again.
On the other hand, burnout is defined as “the feeling of being overextended and overwhelmed with work and life responsibilities.” People who have signs of burnout usually feel anxious and fatigued.
Typically those suffering from compassion fatigue can recover and continue in their role. However, those suffering from burnout may need to change their career or make significant changes to be able to continue.
How can compassion fatigue be prevented?
The consequences of compassion fatigue can be damaging to people if they are not treated. Therefore, it is important to identify the warning signs to prevent compassion fatigue from happening. Proven steps for preventing and treating compassion fatigue are similar:
Understanding the risk and causes of compassion fatigue can help prevent the condition from occurring.
Many people that go into caring professions ignore their own mental health. This can backfire if they do not take care of their mental health before dealing with someone else’s. Forms of self-care include:
- A balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- Good sleep
- A good work-life balance
- Honoring emotional needs
»Setting emotional boundaries
Whilst it is vital to have an empathetic approach to your patients, you must set boundaries on their behavior. For example, it isn’t acceptable for patients to be verbally or physically violent.
»Engage in outside hobbies
A change is as good as a rest. This is why it’s so important to do something totally different with your leisure time.
»Cultivate friendships outside of work
In the same way that hobbies will take your mind off of your work, sharing time with friends that don’t work in a caring position is a great way to get some needed distance between you and your work.
»Journal your thoughts and feelings regularly
It can be therapeutic to write down your thoughts and emotions if they are becoming overwhelming. This can help you to let go of negative emotions and look at your situation with a fresh perspective.
»Use positive coping strategies
All too often people that are struggling with poor mental health or the pressures of work turn to destructive coping strategies such as drinking or taking recreational drugs. Far better strategies include exercise and meditation.
Meditation has been shown to help people feel less anxious, energetic, relaxed, and optimistic. By learning how to meditate, professionals can reduce stress and decrease their likelihood of developing compassion fatigue or burnout.
What are the signs of compassion fatigue?
Several signs indicate that an individual is suffering from compassion fatigue.
- A drop in work performance (e.g., productivity, skill levels) and a decrease in quality of life
- Workplace concerns such as feeling constantly overwhelmed or isolated
- A breakdown of interpersonal relationships with co-workers
- Feelings of inequity toward the therapeutic relationship
- Unexplained weight loss
- Impaired decision making
- A decrease in empathy and growing anxiety about being overwhelmed
Consequences of not treating compassion fatigue/burnout
Those who do not seek treatment for compassion fatigue can see a decline in their mental health and an increase in their emotional distress. This can take the form of depression or anxiety, which can lead to substance abuse and several other mental health concerns.
The ultimate risk faced by those with compassion fatigue includes suicide. For example, veterinary surgeons are four times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
There are many rewarding careers where you get to help people and animals. Having compassion and empathy are important qualities for a lot of these careers.
However, it’s crucial to learn how to recognize the signs of burnout, compassion fatigue, and depression. In this way, you can manage your stress levels and keep all of the good things about your career while avoiding the bad things.
Compassion fatigue is a real problem for workers in child protection services—among others who work with victims of crime, abuse, or other trauma. It can also affect people who work with rescue animals as well as those who work in rescue/recovery missions following a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or war.
Left untreated or diagnosed can lead to suffering and feeling isolated to the point where suicide becomes a very real problem for some caring professionals.
Knowing the rewards and risks of any caring profession is what can help to guide individuals in deciding whether or not they are ready to enter the field.
Oftentimes, those who are just beginning their career have a lot of responsibility put on them by their employers or organizations. This can lead to someone getting overwhelmed and eventually developing feelings of compassion fatigue or burnout.
Compassion fatigue is not necessarily specific to individuals in a certain industry, either. Therefore, it’s important that workers in any field seeking new employment—whether they currently work with victims of crime, abuse, or other trauma—are aware that this is a risk for entering these fields and seek out support from their employer as well as from the appropriate organizations based on their profession.