• 01 December 2020
  • 8 min read

Career Opportunities for Healthcare Assistants

  • Rosie
    Medical Student
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
    • Matt Farrah
  • 0
  • 2481
Play video: "it's a real starting place for all these different jobs that you can possibly go into."

If you’re a Healthcare Assistant looking for something new, Medical Student/HCA, Rosie offers a guide to the possible career paths as well as how the role of a HCA can be a great learning experience.

Topics covered in this article

0.20 Introduction

1.25 What Is A Healthcare Assistant?

3.32 You Could Become A Nurse

4.22 An Allied Health Professional

5.04 Using Your Role To Decide Your Specialty

5.59 Going Into Management

6.51 Medical Science

7.42 Being A Healthcare Assistant Can Provide A Wealth Of Experience

0.20 Introduction

Hi guys. My name is Rosie.

I am a medical science student at the University of Leeds, but I also work as a Healthcare Assistant alongside my studies.

Today, I want to talk all about the career opportunities for a Healthcare Assistant.

This is so relevant to me because I am using being a Healthcare Assistant to get experience in terms of one day, hopefully becoming a Doctor.

That is my really huge dream.

It's what I'm working towards all the time.

I'm using a Healthcare Assistant role to hopefully gain enough experience to one day, be able to call myself Dr. Rosie.

There are so many other career opportunities, so I thought I'd talk about them all.

But yet Healthcare Assistant can be a lifelong career as well, if you want it to be.

I know so many people who've been a Healthcare Assistant for 20, 30 years and love it.

So, there's definitely that as well.

I thought I'd actually go into what a Healthcare Assistant is.

1.25 What Is A Healthcare Assistant?

A Healthcare Assistant is basically a patient's first point of call, especially if they are on a ward.

I would be assigned certain patients for the day, and they would come to me if they had any issues.

Then if they're issues that I can't personally deal with, you raise it higher and higher to Nurses, Doctors, anything in between.

The HCA does basically any kind of task that they are qualified to do, so for me, that involves doing observations, chatting to patients, physical MU's, helping with meals, helping wash patients, anything like that.

It's really a really good job.

I really do enjoy it.

For me, it's something that I know I don't want to do for the rest of my life, but it's something that is so valuable to me right now, because for me, I never came from a family that has loads of medical experience.

None of my family work in direct health care.

So, I've got only a fair few medical shadowing experiences, and for a future medic, you need lots of those kind of experiences.

I find working as a Healthcare Assistant really opens the door to all these opportunities.

So, I've got to know Doctors, Senior Nurses, Senior Staff in hospitals that will give me these opportunities because I work on their wards.

That has been just invaluable to me personally, because I've had all these different opportunities such as shadowing staff, such as meeting patients with all these different presentations and being part of the multi-disciplinary team to help form their treatment plan and care plan and stick to that.

I think that is just incredible and really empowering part of the job.

So, I would definitely say that has probably been the most rewarding part of being a Healthcare Assistant, but there are so many different avenues you can go too.

3.32 You Could Become A Nurse

The healthcare system literally works in a variety of places.

There can be NHS wards, private sectors, GP surgeries, prisons, schools, literally anywhere you can have things, and these all can lead on to different roles.

So, the first one, which I think is probably one of the most obvious ones is that a lot of Healthcare Assistant are Student Nurses or they're aiming to become a Nurse and trying to get experience.

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You could definitely do that.

If you're a uni student like me and you're thinking, Hey, you might want to go into Nursing or be one of the shift coordinators, getting this kind of first-hand direct patient experience.

It's really useful.

So, that is definitely one job you can go into.

4.22 An Allied Health Professional

You could go in to be an Allied Health Professional, such as a Cardiac Physiologist, anything, an Occupational Therapist.

There are so many roles out there that you could be a Radiographer, and I find for me shadowing patients who are sometimes in a spinal ward or patients with MS or in a psychiatric ward or patients with postpartum psychosis.

The day can vary so much, and you get so much experience.

You really find out what you want to do, and that's what I love.

It's a starting block, if you want.

If you want to utilise the job that way, it's a real starting place for all these different jobs that you can possibly go into.

5.04 Using Your Role To Decide Your Specialty

I'm finding out basically I'm using my Healthcare Assistant role to find out what kind of specialty I want to go into.

Like I said, I've worked on spinal wards.

I've worked on children's wards, on mental health wards, on A&E.

I'm getting the broad spectrum of it, and that's what I like because I can form all these different connections with every single person out there and get such a wide array of experience.

For me, that helps me so much in my studies, as well, as a medical scientist, because I get to witness all these different conditions, all these different patients presentations and helps me form like a bedside manner with patients that people who haven't had the job experience might not necessarily have.

That is another reason why I would become a HCA, if you are watching this video and want that kind of experience.

5.59 Going Into Management

Another avenue you can go into is Management.

Every hospital has a Manager, and normally they're people who have progressed from that ward themselves.

That's what the majority of the wards I have worked on have been volunteers staff.

Anyone who's known to the ward can progress up when there's a job that becomes available if they've got the qualifications, and having this like first-hand experience on a ward, really puts you up for that kind of role.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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So, if you are interested in Management and running wards and keeping up with all the administration tasks, I would definitely recommend starting off as a Healthcare Assistant.

If you don't have a lot of experience in the field, I would definitely do that because then you can always progress upwards towards management and running the then team of healthcare assistance.

6.51 Medical Science

Then there's always, obviously, the course that I study is medical sciences, which you can be a biomedical science on an NHS ward in the labs.

Lab work is literally so needed right now as well.

So, there's definitely that pathway up.

You get real-world patient contact in this as well.

Then there's Physicians Associate roles.

There's such a broad spectrum of places you can go within a HCA world, and I think that is why so many people come to the role to see what doors it can open for them, because I, when I wanted to really become a Doctor, that's when I really started looking for these kinds of roles.

I'm so glad I got one, which was actually through a recruitment agency as well.

7.42 Being A Healthcare Assistant Can Provide A Wealth Of Experience

I think being a Healthcare Worker, a Healthcare Assistant has literally changed my life and really inspired me to know that I want to become a Doctor.

Literally, every day I work alongside Doctors and I'm like, "Wow, I really want to be you."

I love my job, but this is what I want to work towards.

Hearing people's stories, especially when I ask people what they've done before, I would say a good 80% of people said, "Oh, yeah. I was a Support Worker, and now I'm this," or, "I'm a Support Worker, and I love it. I want to stay in this role for years".

That is what I think is lovely about the NHS is that people absolutely are so passionate about their jobs, and that's why they come into work.

It is just such a rewarding experience to be a worker in the NHS, especially during these times right now.

So, I would say if you are wanting to go into healthcare, definitely start as a Healthcare Assistant, definitely get experience on the wards.

It is absolutely great.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on working as a HCA and which career path you'd like to pursue - let's chat there!

Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!

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  • Rosie
    Medical Student

About the author

  • Rosie
    Medical Student

Rosie is one of the Healthjobs.co.uk video creators. She is currently studying Medical Science in the UK and works as a Healthcare Assistant.

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