Healthcare Support Worker

Healthcare Support Worker

There are over 350 roles in Healthcare alone,
so when considering all roles in Social Care as well,
you will be sure to find the best role for you.

Healthcare support workers (HCSWs) are an essential part of a health or social care team, providing high quality and compassionate care to individuals. A healthcare support worker also referred to as a health care assistant (HCA), are found throughout Health and Care. You could work in a Nursing Home, Acute Hospital, at a GP surgery, in the community and many more places. 

As a HCSW you will work under the guidance of a healthcare professional such as a nurse. As well as working with nurses you will work with many other professionals including doctors. You will have a lot of contact with patients but your role will vary depending on where you’re based. 

In a hospital you may: 

  • Wash and dress patients, 
  • Serve meals and help to feed patients 
  • Help people to move around 
  • Make beds 
  • Making patients feel comfortable 
  • Monitor patients’ conditions by taking temperatures, pulse, respirations and weight. 

Within a GP Surgery or the community setting you may also: 

  • Sterilise equipment, 
  • Undertake health checks, 
  • Assist with the restocking of consulting rooms, 
  • Process lab samples, 
  • Take blood samples, 
  • Provide health promotion 
  • Assist with health education work 

Types of roles available:

+Physiotherapy Assistants/Support Workers

Physiotherapy assistants make a difference to the lives of our patients every day by helping them recover from a range of illnesses and conditions. It is also a route to becoming a physiotherapist. 

The work of physiotherapy assistants can involve: 

  • Setting up equipment 
  • Showing patients how to use mobility aids 
  • Helping patients prepare for treatment (including helping with dressing and undressing) 
  • Working on exercises with patients 
  • Writing reports and updating patients’ records 

They can work in: outpatients’ departments, elderly care, stroke services, mental health and learning disability services, occupational health or paediatrics and other departments.  

Some physiotherapy assistants work in the local community. They could be based in health centres. Some treat patients in their own homes, nursing homes, day centres or schools. Others work in private clinics and voluntary organisations or charities. 

Typical entry requirements: 

There are no set entry requirements for physiotherapy assistants. Employers expect good numeracy and literacy and some experience or qualifications in health or social care. Employers may ask for GCSEs in English and maths. They may ask for a BTEC or equivalent vocational qualification in health and social care. 

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage to have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work. Apprenticeships in healthcare can provide experience to apply for physiotherapy assistant and other support roles. 

 

+Speech and Language Therapy Assistant

Speech and language therapy assistants help patients with conditions that affect their communication, swallowing and feeding. It can also be a first step in becoming a speech and language therapist.  

They help people who have difficulties with: producing and using speech, understanding and using language, feeding, chewing or swallowing, a stammer, their voice.

Tasks could include: 

  • Preparing rooms and equipment 
  • Helping patients during appointments 
  • Writing important reports on a patient’s condition 
  • Updating patient records 

Typical entry requirements: 

There are no set entry requirements for speech and language assistants. Employers expect good numeracy and literacy and some experience or qualifications in health or social care. Employers may ask for GCSEs in English and maths. They may ask for a BTEC or equivalent vocational qualification in health and social care. 

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage to have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work.  

 

+Radiography Assistants

Radiography assistants or imaging support workers work closely with diagnostic radiographers who use imaging to work out which disease or condition is causing a patient’s illness and/or therapeutic radiographers who use doses of x-rays and other ionising radiation to treat medical conditions, such as cancer and tumours. 

Responsibilities may include: 

  • Processing images 
  • Ordering stocks of consumable items 
  • Helping with procedures such as biopsies 
  • Making sure the working environment is clean and hygienic 
  • Preparing patients for treatment, including lifting patients 
  • Checking the equipment and report faults 
  • Inputting data 

Typical entry requirements: 

There are no set entry requirements for radiography assistants and imaging support workers. Employers expect good numeracy, literacy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent. Employers may ask for a healthcare qualification, such as BTEC or NVQ. 

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work. 

Typical entry requirements:

There are no set entry requirements to become a healthcare support worker, but good literacy and numeracy skills are expected, and in some cases GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and maths are required too. You may also need a healthcare qualification such as a BTEC or NVQ for some of our roles.

For some roles, some experience of healthcare or care work may be beneficial – this could be from paid or voluntary work, or through experience you bring in from previous roles.

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.