The Role of a Healthcare Assistant

From time to time here on the Alsicare blog we like to showcase the work of different health and care professionals.  Today it’s the turn of Healthcare Assistants, in our view the unsung heroes of the National Health Service.

So what does the role of a healthcare assistant involve?

It’s very varied no matter what the context. Healthcare Assistants work alongside other health professionals in a clinical, community or hospital setting. The role is probably the most varied of any in the NHS and the main responsibilities change according to the setting. Suffice to say that Healthcare Assistants take on tasks that allow nurses, doctors and clinicians and therapists to get on and treat patients.

In a hospital setting, healthcare assistants are often known as nursing auxiliaries or assistants.  The job isn’t glamorous but is rewarding for those who find caring for the needs of others rewarding. A nursing auxiliary in a hospital will work alongside nurses and take responsibility for the kinds of duties that tend to have a big impact on the quality of a stay in hospital. These can include bathing, washing and feeding patients and helping with toileting and dressing as well as patient monitoring.

Assistants working in a clinical setting are known as Clinical Support Workers and assist psychologists, radiographers, physiotherapists and other specialists. Here the exact duties will vary depending on the context.

No formal qualifications are required to be a nursing assistant.  But once in the role assistants often take the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 2 or 3 in health care support services and clinical health care support.  Qualifications can lead to greater job responsibility.

In addition the role can be the foundation for eventually qualifying as a nurse, but that’s not possible without study and people need to demonstrate they can handle the demands of the course. That said, many assistants love the role they do and have no mind for further study.