Healthcare assistants

Nurse, healthcare assistant and neurological patientHealthcare assistants (HCAs) are a vital part of the team that supports the medical staff and patients in wards and departments throughout the hospital.

Under the supervision and direction of qualified nursing staff, healthcare assistants carry out a wide range of duties to care for, support, and provide information to patients and their families.

Tasks might include:

  • Looking after the physical comfort of patients, for example helping them to wash themselves and emptying bedpans.
  • Keeping departments clean and tidy, for example cleaning of equipment and making and changing beds.
  • Taking and recording basic observations such as blood pressure and temperature.
  • Helping patients to eat and to move about, if they have mobility problems.
  • Listening and talking to patients.

Healthcare AssistantAs the first point of contact for many patients and members of the public, healthcare assistants need to be well-presented and confident with good interpersonal skills. Some of the tasks might be unpleasant so you will need to be flexible and able to help patients with their personal care without getting embarrassed and making sure they are comfortable.

Previous experience in healthcare is desirable but not usually essential, as healthcare assistants are assessed individually to see what tasks they are competent to carry out, and training and development is available for those who want to progress.

Find out more about working as a healthcare assistant from the NHS Careers website and see all our current vacancies.