A healthcare assistant provides basic patient care services and personal care. You can assist nurses as a healthcare assistant or apply as a part-time caregiver, but you can’t perform any medical-related tasks typically done by licensed nurses.
Let’s look closely at the roles of a healthcare assistant, the opportunities you can tap on, and how to break into the field.
What is a Healthcare Assistant?
Healthcare assistants are also referred to as auxiliary nurses or nursing assistants. Their role is to aid or support healthcare professionals in providing care for patients in their homes, nursing homes, or hospitals.
As a healthcare assistant, you’d work closely with a health expert to ensure patients’ safety by providing comfort and first-hand care.
The Roles of a Healthcare Assistant
The roles of the job vary depending on the job type and the tasks you have agreed to do before signing up. It also depends on who you are working for and where you are assigned.
For example, if you are tasked with assisting nurses or nursing staff, you can be given a wide range of duties in various disciplines. The tasks will depend on what cases and patient conditions the healthcare professionals are working on.
You can be asked to provide healthcare support, get the basic vital signs, give personal care to the patients, or record the medical test results. Your job revolves around patient care while providing support to your superiors and recording patients’ conditions.
Some ways to support nursing staff as healthcare assistants include maintaining the patient’s personal hygiene and looking after their mental health while undergoing treatment.
You’d be working as an assistant practitioner, responsible for making the doctors’ and nurses’ jobs easier and helping the patients feel more at ease.
The job is challenging but rewarding. You can even benefit from high payouts depending on your agency and employer.
It’s physically demanding, so you have to be fit. You can be asked to lift heavy medical equipment and support or carry your patients, especially those with mobility issues.
To last in the job, you must possess an innate caring attitude. You have to practice empathy and nurture your patients, especially when they are difficult.
The Job Responsibilities of a Healthcare Assistant
Here’s a list of what’s expected of you when hired for the job:
- Give and collect bedpans
- Makeup beds
- Prepare patients for treatment and therapy
- Measure the weight of the patient and record their pulse rate
- Serving food to the patient according to their doctor’s orders
- Taking the temperatures of the patient
- Take the patient’s blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and record the results
- Set up the equipment requested by the attending physicians
- Improve patient’s mobility
- Replenish medical equipment and supplies
Opportunities for Healthcare Assistant
The job opens up multiple job opportunities, as long as you’re trained in basic patient care activities, give overall reassurance to patients, and can be trusted to provide quality care all the time.
You can work part-time, meaning you can have one or more patients per day. Your schedule can be relaxed or hectic, depending on how you want it to be.
Many healthcare assistants divide their time between two patients per week, spending a few hours with each client every working day.
Healthcare Assistant Requirements
Here are the requirements to qualify for the job:
- Friendly personality
- Physically fit
- Good listening and communication skills
- The desire to help regardless of people’s age, race, or sicknesses
- Previous experience as a caregiver or related jobs
- NVQ qualification in social and health care
- Passed background and medical check
How to Apply?
You can go to an agency that provides home care services apply for the job and submit all the requirements. Typically, they would require at least a high school diploma.
The interview will revolve around your people skills and ensuring you have a spotless character background.
To be a healthcare assistant, you must show compassion and have a heart for the patients. The three most important skills you must have are management skills, people skills, and empathy.
The tasks depend on your role, whether you are delegated to assist nursing staff or take care of the patients. When you are given caregiving tasks for patients in their homes, aside from patient care, you may sometimes be asked to help with cleaning and cooking.
Your role is to make the lives of patients or healthcare professionals easier.
It’s a rewarding job that pays well, but it also comes with many challenges that you can easily surpass when you are dedicated to giving your best to help.