As a health care support worker you help professional staff to look after patients in hospitals, nursing homes or in the community. You carry out basic care tasks, working as part of a team under the supervision of a qualified nurse or another qualified health worker such as a physiotherapist.
You could be:
making beds, and helping move patients in their bed to be more comfortable
serving meals and helping some patients with eating meals
helping patients bathe, shower, wash or dress themselves
changing incontinence pads, fetching and emptying bedpans, removing soiled linen, or assisting patients to the toilet
within the community, helping patients with conditions such as learning difficulties be more independent by accompanying them on shopping trips or outings
assisting patients to other parts of the hospital such as x-ray
helping other members of staff deal with emergencies and coping when a patient dies
taking note of any changes in the condition of the patients and reporting these to the professional staff
perhaps carrying out tasks which, in the past, only professional staff did, such as measuring blood pressure or taking urine samples.
Under NHS Agenda for Change, health care support workers start on Band 2, £16,532 to £18,903 a year. With promotion your salary would rise to Band 3, £17,760 to £20,727 a year. The current pay scales are from April 2017.
You work in hospital wards, hospices, nursing or residential homes.
You work shifts and sometimes unsocial hours.
You wear a uniform and sometimes protective clothing.
able to deal with suffering, distress and sometimes death
a good communicator
patient and caring
reassuring and able to explain hospital procedures clearly
tactful – you must treat all patients with respect
able to remain calm in emergencies and use your initiative
able to work well in a team.
Training is on the job.
You would follow an induction process which is reviewed yearly. Training includes hygiene and infection control, safe moving and handling techniques, communication skills and basic life support skills.
You would normally begin by working towards a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) at SCQF Level 6, such as Health Care Support (Clinical) or Social Services and Health Care.
You may be able to move on to SVQs at SCQF Level 7, 8 or 9.
With experience and particularly if you take qualifications, you may be able to move to a higher grade, such as a senior health care support worker.
You could move to another role such as theatre support worker.
You could work for a private company as well as for the National Health Service (NHS).
You might be able to study part time for the adult nursing degree at the Open University, which can lead to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).