Working as a health care assistant is one of the most fulfilling roles you can do as it gives you real-world experiences of improving an individual’s quality of life. This isn’t the only reason you might consider the role though. There’s also job security, travel opportunities, and the potential for flexible hours. Is it the right career choice for you though?
Do I Need a Certain Qualification?
There are currently no specific national requirements for becoming a health care assistant, though you will have to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service test (formerly known as a Criminal Records Bureau test). This is to help employers make better informed decisions about applicants and prevent unsuitable individuals from working with vulnerable groups like the elderly or children.
This is because your employer will train you in the skills required to be competent in your role. Because the skills required will vary from institution to institution, you can expect to undergo new training whenever you change roles. Bare in mind that, in a competitive field like this, having a relevant qualification could put you at an advantage over someone of similar experience. Qualifications such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are also desirable if you’re interested in eventually moving onto a supervisory or management role.
What Traits Do I Need for the Role?
People who succeed as a health care assistant need be compassionate, have good communication skills, and be aware of patient confidentiality. Working with individuals who require help when performing tasks like washing, dressing, and eating, will require you to be patient and respectful of your patient. There will also be instances where you need to speak to patients when they are feeling anxious or upset, and your role will be to help alleviate some of the stress they may be feeling.
Patient confidentiality is a fundamental part of health care that includes everybody from doctors to assistants. The common law of confidentiality says that individuals have a right to expect that any information given to a healthcare professional will only used for the reason it was given. Any disclosure is only considered lawful and ethical if the individual has given full and explicit consent to it being passed on, whether that be verbally or in writing. Cases of implied disclosure, where the patient is aware that their information must be shared within the healthcare team in order to provide their care, enables staff to disclose information that could prevent abuse or be used in investigations of such crimes. Patient confidentiality will be of the things you learn about in your initial training, especially if you are new to the role.
If you think you’re ready for a career as a health care assistant, take a look at our top tips for getting your dream job.