Healthcare assistants (or support worker, nursing assistant, nursing auxiliary) look after patients in hospitals or in patients’ own homes.
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
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
Most health and social care courses include work placements, which is a good way to get experience.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship as a healthcare support worker.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You could work as a trainee care assistant in a residential or care home, and do qualifications on the job.
You’ll find it useful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting or personal care role. This will help when you apply for jobs.
You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS Trust for advice about opportunities.
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work well with your hands
- excellent verbal communication skills
- customer service skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
In this role you could:
- 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
You will have to have passes enhanced background checks.
The following salaries are a guide only:
- Starter: £18,005
- Experienced: £24,157
- You may work evenings, bank holidays or weekends.
- You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a client’s home, at an adult care home or at a hospice.
- You may need to wear a uniform.