What Is Care Work?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Care work is that which is done to service others. For example, a person who cares for the elderly performs care work, as does a person who provides child care. While this type of work may be done for monetary payment, money isn't always the main motivator for a person who decides to take on this type of job. Often, people serve others because they feel a sense of responsibility to do so or even because they take joy in caring for others. For instance, when a person cares for others inside his home and doesn't charge for the service, this work is considered care work.

A nursing assistant checking the blood pressure of a patient.
A nursing assistant checking the blood pressure of a patient.

When a person spends his life working to help others, he is said to perform care work. There are different types of care work jobs, but many of them focus on helping others to reach their full potential. For example, child care workers help to ensure children's safety when they are not with parents and assist with developing skills and knowledge the children will use for a lifetime. Teachers, including those who teach college and graduate school classes, help people to reach their full potential educationally. Some even help to instruct others who will one day become care workers themselves.

Some care work is performed in the interest of keeping the recipients healthy enough to pursue life to its fullest potential. Such care workers include doctors, surgeons, dentists, and nurses as well as the health care professionals who assist them, such as dental assistants and nursing assistants. Other care workers care for people who are dependent on others and cannot care for themselves fully. For instance, a nursing home worker is a care worker who sees to the needs of elderly and disabled individuals.

Interestingly, some of the people who provide the most hands-on care are also among those who are the lowest paid. Often, nursing assistants, for example, have more one-on-one patient contact than other nurses or doctors but can expect to receive far lower pay. Many child care workers do not receive much payment when considering the amount of attention they give to needy, active young children. Some people who perform such jobs are willing to accept this because they enjoy helping others.

Some types of care work are performed without expectation of payment. For example, a person who cares for his family members in his own home is said to perform unpaid care work. Likewise, a person who volunteers to serve others performs this type of work as well.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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