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Ask John // What Should I Expect as a Direct Support Professional

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Author: John Holloway, Direct Support Professional, Success Rehabilitation

First off, I want to say congratulations. You are well on your way to Success!

I know that starting somewhere or something new is challenging when you don't have all of the facts - especially as a healthcare professional. AND since you've decided to make us a part of your day, here are a few things that I have learned from working with the clients' at Success Rehabilitation as a Direct Support Professional (DSP).

Empathy & Compassion.

Working with individuals who have experienced a brain injury comes with a host of unique challenges and opportunities. You will provide quality care for people experiencing a wide range of physical and psychological complexities. Because of this, you will need to interact with those who may display various emotions, including joy, happiness, fear, anxiety, depression, resentment, and anger. To interact with them effectively and to help them succeed at the task at hand, you need to show them you care, understand, and are a willing partner throughout their rehabilitation journey.

The individuals I work with make every day fulfilling, and yes, it can be challenging. Still, I know my work makes a positive impact and helping each individual grow, gain skills, and work towards independence.

You're stronger than you think.

Let's be honest. The prospect of helping an adult with toileting, continence, or other ADLs (activities of daily living) may not be a dream situation for you. But it is a necessary part of working in direct client care. At first, you may think there is NOOO WAY I can't do this - but you can. You will learn the skills and techniques to help you assist clients' with these activities, and with each passing day, you find the strength to help others. You will also realize how fortunate you are to be able to do these things without assistance. Perspective is everything!


A day in the life of a Direct Support Professional is never the same. One day you might be helping clients get to their therapies on time, and the next, you might be assisting on a community outing to the park, movies, car show, museum, or a new restaurant. Yes, you get paid to help with these activities. I can think of worse ways to spend a day at work!

It is important to remember that with different activities come different demands of a DSP. You'll need to readjust to new activities and environments because a client's mood and actions will likely fluctuate. After all, we all have good and bad moments. DSPs need to adapt to the situation and the clients' shifting needs during the time spent together.


Consistency is key to positive relationships and outcomes. Show up on time, communicate, be reliable on every shift. These things matter. Consistency helps you build a strong foundation with your team members and clients' - people notice, and earned opportunities will open up for you!

Good luck, and welcome to Success. You'll do great! Stay tuned to your email for more insights from our team members at Success.


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