A healthcare assistant will work under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional and will work in a hospital or the community such as in a GP surgery. The role can be varied and involves close work with patients. They are not as qualified as a nurse or doctor so the pay is not as high.
What does a Healthcare Assistant do?
A healthcare assistant will normally work under the guidance of a nurse. They may be known as nursing assistants or auxillaries. The work will differ depending on where the work is done. In a hospital responsibilities could include washing and dressing patients, serving meals and feeding patients, moving patients and helping them in the toilet, making beds, talking and comforting patients and monitoring weight, temperature, pulse and breathing. In a health centre or GP surgery the role will include sterilising equipment, doing health checks, stocking rooms, processing lab samples, taking blood and doing health promotion or education. Work may also be under the guidance of doctors, midwives or other professionals but a main part of the role will be working closely with patients.
What Qualifications are Needed?
Although there are no set entry requirements it is expected that an applicant will have good literacy and numeracy skills and may need GCSE English and Maths. It is possible that they may need a healthcare qualification such as an NVQ or BTEC. Work experience in a relevant area is also preferred and it may be possible to do paid or unpaid work to achieve this or do an apprenticeship. There may be training available to do while on the job.
It will also be important to have the right skills. It is important to be caring and kind as well as friendly and cheerful. A willingness to do personal care tasks, be hands-on with patients and follow instructions. Observational, organisational and communication skills are also very important. You will be working with patients most of the time and will need to be able to remain cheerful and compassionate even if you are feeling tired.
What is the Pay?
The pay will depend on working hours and locations. Normally a 37.5 hour week would be worked but this could involve weekends, night shifts, early starts and evening work. You will therefore have to be prepared to work unsociable hours. You may be expected to work long shifts but have days off in between. The NHS workers would be on the pay scale starting at band 2 and working up to bands 3 and 4. Band two starts at £15,404 and goes up to £18,157. Band 3 starts at £16,968 and goes up to £19,850. Band 4 starts at £19,409 and goes up to £22,683. There are several levels of London weighting available, which will increase the pay if you live in inner London, outer London or the outskirts of London. There will also be opportunities to do further training and move into different roles which will pay more. Work in the private sector could pay more as well depending on the exact placement.