Health Care Assistant Job Description and Opportunities

Healthcare assistants(HCAs) attain employment within hospitals or at community healthcare establishments, such as GP surgeries. HCAs work under the guidance of health care professionals, and their role varies depending on the setting and occasion. HCAs will often work alongside nurses, and they are also known as nursing assistants, or nursing auxiliaries.

Duties of a Health Care Assistant

HCAs work over in variety of medical fields, from dentistry, physical therapy, and mental health, to nursing, and cardiology. Healthcare assistants perform various roles, usually focusing on patient care. In community practices, this can include interviewing patients, assisting with patient examinations, recording data, and maintaining medical equipment. In long term medical facilities, such as hospitals, HCAs will generally assist patients with hygiene requirements, serve patients meals, and ensure patients’ vitals are stable. A list of duties often carried out by HCAs can be found below:

  • washing and dressing wounds
  • serving meals to patients, and assisting with consumption if required
  • helping patients with mobility
  • helping patients to excrete waste products (toileting)
  • making beds
  • assisting with the comfort of the patients
  • ensuring a clean workspace
  • monitoring patients condition (taking pulse, temperature respiration, and weight readings)

Within the field of dentistry, healthcare assistants may perform x-rays, sterilize equipment, and make casts of patients’ teeth. It is possible for HCAs to attain nursing assistant certifications, allowing them to provide their services to those who are unable to leave their home.

Nursing HCAs will usually work via a shift or rota system, clocking in 37.5 hours a week on average. This will include working on nights and weekends. Due to the demanding nature of the job, part-time and flexible working is often available to HCAs.

Salary and Prospects 

As HCAs have both administrative and medical skills, they are in a firm position to benefit from the increased demand for work within the medical sector. It is predicted that opportunities for HCAs will increase by 29% by 2022. On average, a healthcare assistant will earn $29,370 per year in America, with the highest 10% earning $41,500.In the UK, starting salaries for HCAs on the national health service (NHS) are between £15,000 and £18,000, although this can rise to around £20,000 with the right experience. HCAs may also be paid higher wages for working overtime, at nights, or on weekends.  Please remember that the figures mentioned above are intended for guidance purposes only.

How to Find Health Care Assistant Jobs

As with most things in the modern age, healthcare assistants can use the internet to search for job vacancies relating to that role. A simple search using a search engine online will return numerous vacancies relatable to HCAs. There are also hospital and practitioner websites that may also post job vacancies. There is also the option of visiting your local hospital or practitioner, and enquiring about work within the establishment.

It is important to remember that previous experience and qualifications will be helpful, but not necessary. It is possible to start out as a trainee, or via an apprenticeship.

How to Qualify As a Health Care Assistant

To become a healthcare assistant, you will be required to hold at least a high school diploma, in most cases, you will also be required to complete a specified course in medical assistance before you hope to seek employment. The coursework for the course will often include a combination of medical and administrative procedures, from anatomy to record keeping. Those training to become a healthcare assistant can also voluntarily attain further qualifications, although this is not required, it is necessary for certain positions, such as basic life support and CPR. For many positions, Certified Nursing Aide (CAN) qualifications are necessary.

Skills Required

HCAs require a vast array of skills to perform their job properly. These skills include good communication and patient-care skills, as well as efficient office skills, including record keeping and computer proficiency (word documents, spreadsheets, data entry etc.). It is important for HCAs to be able to multitask, work with initiative, and work well in a team. Those who are multi-lingual are often preferred, although this is not a requirement. Those who attain employment may have to have a yearly physical and up-to-date immunization.

Training and Development

Some health care establishments will require their staff to have already completed a qualification and are certified health care assistants. Some establishments allow you to attain your qualifications whilst working on the job. In most cases, the more qualifications you hold, the more responsibility you are likely to have whilst working. You may also progress to nurse training at college or university if you attain a high enough qualification to meet the entry requirements. Many wonder if they can get a job as health care assistant, the answer is that it depends on different facility requirements.

Qualitiesand Traits

As a healthcare assistant, you will be required to have: -

  • a caring, friendly personality
  • the ability to relate to people from a variety of different backgrounds
  • sensitivity
  • empathy
  • understanding
  • a respectful approach to patients from all backgrounds
  • an understanding of confidentiality and its importance
  • patience
  • a sense of humor and cheerfulness

Health Care Assistant Resume

Below is a sample resume for health care assistant to help you go more smoothly with the job-hunting process:

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