Healthcare assistant jobs, medical administrative assistant jobs, and more

Where are most healthcare assistant jobs found?

Healthcare assistants provide essential support to medical teams and can work in a variety of settings. These can include hospitals, community settings or general practice surgeries, with the role usually overseen by a nurse.

The work can vary according to the setting, with healthcare assistants in GP surgeries or health centres carrying out tasks like blood tests, sterilising equipment or processing lab samples, while healthcare assistants in hospitals may be involved in washing and dressing patients, serving meals or checking patients’ temperatures, pulse or weight. Healthcare assistants work alongside professionals like midwifes and doctors, and will have a great deal of direct contact with patients.

A range of healthcare assistant jobs can also be found in laboratories or medical offices. Emergency care assistant jobs, meanwhile, are found in paramedic teams as part of ambulance crews attending emergency call-outs.

What qualifications do I need?

While some employers may require a basic healthcare qualification there are no formal entry requirements for a healthcare assistant job, and many people will use it as the first step on the healthcare career ladder. However, employers will expect good levels of numeracy and literacy and some previous experience of working in a healthcare environment, even if it was in a voluntary capacity. Good listening, communication and organisational skills are also highly desirable, and employers will expect candidates to be caring, compassionate and willing to carry out personal care tasks for patients.

On-the-job training will be provided by employers, and many healthcare assistant jobs will involve an initial probationary period of up to six months. Employers will also offer the opportunity to undertake further training to advance to other roles.

While there are no set entry requirements for emergency care assistant jobs, employers will again expect good standards of literacy and numeracy and relevant experience, even if voluntary. Initial training will be provided in areas like emergency first aid, basic patient skills and moving and handling techniques, with new recruits initially working under the guidance of a supervisor.

What are the normal working patterns?

Unlike some health professional roles, healthcare assistant jobs will not normally involve longer than usual hours, although shift work at nights or weekends may be required. 

Where could the role lead?

After a certain period of time, and with further training, healthcare assistants can go on to take up senior healthcare assistant roles. They can then train to become a nursing associate or assistant practitioner, or go on to qualify as a nurse, midwife or occupational therapist. Emergency care assistants, meanwhile, can go on to train as paramedics.

What other ways of working are there?

Healthcare assistants can work as bank healthcare assistants, which means taking shift work via the staff banks providing personnel for hospitals or care homes. This offers greater variety and flexibility, and the opportunity to build a wider skills base. 

What is the healthcare assistant job market like?

As pressure on health services continues to increase – and the community healthcare sector continues to expand – demand for healthcare assistants will grow accordingly.

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