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Healthcare Assistant

What is the role of a Healthcare Assistant

You'll work under the guidance of a healthcare professional such as a nurse and your job will vary depending on where you're based. Typical tasks might include:

  • wash and dress patients

  • serve meals and help to feed patients
  • help people to move around
  • make beds
  • make patients feel comfortable
  • monitor patients' conditions by taking temperatures, pulse, respirations and weight

What qualifications and experience do I need?

Your training as a healthcare assistant will include fundamental nursing skills and you will work towards your Care Certificate.

You may also be offered the chance to study for qualifications through apprenticeships such as:

  • The level 2 Apprenticeship, Healthcare support worker
  • The level 3 Apprenticeship, Senior Healthcare Support worker

With experience and further training, you could become a senior healthcare assistant. You could then apply to train as an assistant practitioner or nursing associate. With the appropriate qualifications/evidence of academic ability, you could also train as one of the many degree-level healthcare professionals such as a nurse

Pay and benefits

As a healthcare assistant, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change pay system, typically starting on band 2.


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My Story: Sarah Toulouse

My name is Sarah Toulouse, I am a Band 2 HCA which I achieved via the apprenticeship pathway.  I joined University Hospital Plymouth in 2017

How I got into this role

I joined the Royal Navy in 2005 and served for 4 years as a Steward, working for the First Sea Lord.  I then moved overseas with my husband for 6 years returning back to the UK in 2015 when I took up a role working for Active Assist.  In 2017 I joined the trust as a Band 1 apprentice.

My role at UHP

I achieved my HCA qualification in 2019 and I am currently working in the Peritoneal dialysis unit (PDU).

I plan to undertake my Level 2 Maths functional skills and I hope to progress with my Level 3 apprenticeship. Ultimately I would like to progress to a band 4 role but I am not sure whether to take the AP or NA route on the way towards becoming a Registered Nurse.

Life outside of work

I live on a farm and support our family business as well as being a carer for a family member.  To relax I like to paint.

My top tips to being successful

Never give up - I have overcome lots of obstacles to achieve my apprenticeship.  At 15 I was diagnosed with dyslexia and subsequently in adulthood it was found that I have a personality disorder. 

Build trust with your patients.  Be proud to care for them and what you have achieved.

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