How to become a Healthcare Assistant

What is a healthcare assistant?

A healthcare assistant assists healthcare professionals to provide care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or in the home of the patient. They are under the direction of a qualified professional, and they work closely with patients to ensure their comfort and safety.

How to become a healthcare assistant?

You could do a college course, which may help you when looking for work.

Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • T level for Healthcare Support Workers

You could also do voluntary work with an organisation that supports vulnerable people, for example a care home, charity, hospital, hospice. In order to get this job, you’ll need to pass enhanced background checks. 

A driving licence may be helpful if you’re going to be working on shifts outside of public transport hours. It will help to be physically fit, as you may need to help lift or move people.

Healthcare assistant duties

Healthcare assistant duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Taking the temperature, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels of patients, and recording the results
  • Recording the pulse rate of patients
  • Ensuring that supplies and medical equipment are replenished
  • Listening to the particular needs of patients and acting on these needs as appropriate
  • Turning patients who are required to spend a lot of time in bed, in order to avoid bed sores
  • Notifying healthcare professionals if temperatures, pulse rates, or respiration rates seem abnormal or worrying
  • Measuring the weight of the patient
  • Preparing patients for therapy or medical treatment
  • Setting up equipment needed by healthcare professionals
  • Helping patients to undertake personal tasks, including washing, showering, and using the toilet

Healthcare assistant skills

To be an effective care assistant, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Willingness to perform personal care tasks
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
  • Sympathy and compassion
  • Knowing which tasks to prioritise
  • Basic nursing skills, such as taking a temperature or helping with blood or urine tests
  • Attention to detail

How to find a healthcare assistant job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the healthcare assistant jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for healthcare assistant jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

How to find a healthcare assistant job

When you search for healthcare assistant jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for healthcare assistant jobs include;

  • Healthcare assistant
  • Healthcare worker
  • Personal care aide
  • Support worker
  • Nursing assistant
  • Nursing auxiliary

What does a healthcare assistant do?

The day-to-day tasks of a healthcare assistant include;

  • Help patients shower and get dressed
  • Help people eat
  • Make beds
  • Use equipment to lift and move patients
  • Talk to patients and reassure them
  • Help patients to use the toilet
  • Tidy the ward or patients’ homes
  • Take patients’ temperature or pulse
  • Attend meetings with other healthcare professionals

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