Personal Support Worker

What Does a PSW Do? Understanding the Role of a Personal Support Worker

June 30, 2023

Personal support worker graduate providing one-on-one care to an elderly patient

Personal Support Workers (PSW) are vital members of the healthcare team. Not only do they provide care and support to vulnerable individuals, helping them live more fulfilling lives, but by doing so, they also help relieve the stress and demands on other healthcare workers. The role of a PSW is essential in any inclusive society that aims to enhance the quality of life of its population.

Those who are considering a career in healthcare may be more familiar with other roles within the field, such as nurses, physicians, and medical assistants, but a career as a PSW can be just as rewarding. If you are trying to determine what career path to take, understanding the roles and responsibilities of a Personal Support Worker might help you figure out if this is the job for you. Read on to learn more.

Why Are Personal Support Workers Needed?

With the aging population, healthcare professionals are growing increasingly in demand. Given that Personal Support Workers play a critical role in providing care and support for seniors, their work is highly valued in the healthcare industry. In addition to providing daily assistance with tasks such as meal preparation, household management, aiding with bathing, and other aspects of personal hygiene, PSWs play an important role in promoting health and wellness. By doing so, they provide preventive care, helping lessen the burden on hospitals and healthcare centers.

Personal support worker professional changing patient’s non-sterile dressing
Personal Support Workers work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure the safety of their patients.

To become a Personal Support Worker, you must obtain certification from an accredited institution. This is because, through your Personal Support Worker course, you will get hands-on training and develop a broad range of abilities needed to provide professional care to your clients. You will also learn how to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure your clients get the care and medical support they need. 

Main Duties and Responsibilities

The main role of Personal Support Workers are to help clients maintain their independence. This is done through several different tasks–depending on the individual needs of each client. It is common for PSWs to help clients maintain personal hygiene by assisting them with bathing, dressing, and toileting. In addition, Personal Support Workers must ensure that clients take their medications and assist them with mobility if needed. Meal preparation, household management, feeding, and bedside care are also some of the most common duties for PSWs. Given the compassionate nature of the role, PSWs need to communicate clearly and compassionately with clients and assist them with their social and emotional needs.

PSW graduate assisting an elderly patient in getting ready for the day
As a graduate of our Personal Support Worker training program, you will assist your clients with personal care, meal preparation, medication administration, and some housekeeping tasks.

Those taking a PSW course online will have regular in-person practical labs to practice the theory they learn online. In addition, an externship will help them bridge the gap between the classroom and the work environment. 

Different Career Paths You Can Take After PSW Training

After Personal Support Worker training, you will likely find employment in health centres, long-term care facilities, private care facilities, and group homes. PSWs can also work at clients’ homes depending on the kind of attention required by clients. Although many Personal Support Workers work with healthcare agencies and institutions, some may choose to work independently or work for a private household. Roles and responsibilities may vary depending on the type of work setting.  


Are you interested in a PSW course in Canada

Contact Medix College to learn how you can get started.



Q: How to become a PSW

A: To become a Personal Support Worker, you must complete a certified PSW program. Through it, you will learn how to effectively provide care and assistance to clients and families, helping them to live fulfilling lives in their communities and institutions. 

Q: What does a Personal Support Worker do?

A: Personal Support Workers are healthcare professionals who provide essential care and support to individuals who cannot complete daily activities alone, such as those who are aging, chronically ill, and/or have physical/mental disabilities.

Q: What do you need to be a PSW?

A: To be eligible to apply for Personal Support Worker positions, you must have completed a certified PSW program, have all the documentation and certifications required by the employer, such as CPR and first aid certifications, and have some hands-on experience. Empathy, compassion, and collaboration are common traits of PSWs.

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