Healthcare support workers work across a variety of settings, from mental health to children’s services. As a healthcare support worker, you’ll work under the supervision of a healthcare professional, supporting them and helping patients on their journey back to full health.
The opportunities to progress are endless; you can choose to specialise in a particular setting, or train to qualify as a healthcare professional, such as a nurse or midwife. In some trusts, healthcare support workers have slightly different job titles such as healthcare assistant (or HCA), nursing assistant, clinical support worker or midwifery assistant, depending on your chosen setting and the healthcare professionals you support.
It’s a hands-on role – one minute you could be taking blood and the next lending an ear to an anxious patient – but it’s one of the most rewarding. Your day-to-day will vary depending on which part of the NHS you’re working in. For example, if you’re based in a hospital your duties may include:
helping patients to move around.
monitoring patients and performing basic health checks
making patients feel comfortable.
washing and dressing patients.
serving meals and helping to feed patients.
If you’re based in a health centre or GP surgery, you may:
perform health checks
take blood samples
process lab samples
restock consulting rooms
undertake health promotion and education work
No matter which area you choose to work in, being a healthcare support worker is a key role that’s at the very heart of healthcare.
There are no set entry requirements to become a healthcare support worker, but good literacy and numeracy skills are expected. We can also help support you in gaining the necessary English and maths GCSE (or equivalent) qualifications if you do not already have these.
"It isn't all about experience and qualifications. What’s really important is having the right values, behaviours and attitudes to work effectively with people who need care and support."
But academic qualifications aren’t everything. You’ll also need to be caring, kind and willing to really get stuck into the role – it’s a hands-on environment where teamwork, communication and organisational skills are vital.
As a healthcare support worker, you’ll have access to world-class training and learn basic nursing skills. You’ll also work towards gaining qualifications and may have the opportunity to do an apprenticeship. But that’s not all. You’ll gain plenty of on-the-job experience and be surrounded by experts who’ll support you as you progress through your career. And with regular check-ins to discuss your career aspirations, you’ll always be moving forward.
Your standard working week will be around 37.5 hours and may include a mix of shifts, such as nights, early starts, evenings and weekends. As a healthcare support worker, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, typically starting on band 2. Please note that pay will vary in primary care settings.
You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave, plus bank holidays, which increases the longer you’re in service.
Healthcare support workers typically work in one of seven settings.
Mental health - helping with the care, treatment and recovery of patients.
Community - working with GPs and nursing teams to deliver and manage care in a patient’s home or community-based healthcare setting.
Primary Care - assessing new patients and supporting the wider GP surgery medical and nursing team.
Acute - a hospital-based role supporting patients and managing daily activities.
Midwifery - working on the maternity ward, supporting new parents and their babies.
Children’s services - working with nurses to support outpatient clinics and school clinics.
Learning disability - helping people with learning disabilities or autism to learn new skills and reach a level of independence.
The above information has been taken from the Health Careers website
Lister Hospital, Stevenage
The New QEII Hospital, Welwyn Garden City
Hertford County Hospital
Mount Vernon Cancer Network, Northwood
Watford General Hospital
St Albans City Hospital
Hemel Hempstead General Hospital
The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow
Herts and Essex Hospital, Bishops Stortford
St Margaret's Hospital, Epping
Various community settings across Hertfordshire, including clinics, community hospitals and patient homes.
Various mental health and learning disability services across Hertfordshire, including clinics, hospitals and patient homes.
Various GP practices across Hertfordshire.