Healthcare assistants (HCAs) work in various NHS hospitals or community settings, reporting to various healthcare specialists. The area of work will determine the function’s nature. For example, an HCA may work with nurses in hospitals or midwives in maternity services and mental health, community, or GP practises.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- 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.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £20,270 per year.
- Experienced healthcare assistants can earn up to £26,282 per year.
You will typically work 37 to 40 hours per week, including evenings, weekends and bank holidays on a rota.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice healthcare assistant include:
- Level 2 Healthcare Support Worker – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification will take 12 months to complete.
On a healthcare assistant apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- 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.
Career path and progression
Working as an Assistant Practitioner while studying for a foundation degree is possible. In addition, experienced healthcare assistants working at a senior level (often as an Assistant Practitioner or an equivalent level) may be able to arrange a secondment to an appropriate pre-registration programme at university.
HCAs may choose to pursue a professional career in nursing or midwifery. Alternatively, with additional research, Allied Healthcare professions such as Art Therapy, Dietician, Radiographer, Speech and Language Therapist, and many more may be worth investigating.