Are you looking to become a Healthcare Assistant? This guide will outline the job role, the experience and skills you’ll need and how to apply for healthcare assistant jobs. We’ll also talk about the training and certifications you can get as a healthcare assistant, and how much a Band 2 assistants can expect to earn. Alternatively, find out more about other nursing career pathways.
What is a Band 2 Healthcare Assistant?
A Band 2 healthcare assistant is responsible for the basic care and wellbeing of patients, during their time in NHS (or private) hospitals. More experienced Healthcare Assistants and those with NVQ 3 qualifications will have the responsibility of taking simple observational measurements, such as blood pressure and temperature. Other Band 2 Healthcare Assistants are qualified phlebotomists and are able to take blood from patients in order for tests to be carried out.
In some cases, the role of a Healthcare Assistant can be clinic based. For example, Band 2 Healthcare Assistants may work with patients undergoing dialysis treatments on renal units, where they prepare patients for their treatments and assist with setting up equipment as directed by the lead nurse. It is also the Healthcare Assistant’s responsibility to ensure patient records are updated regularly.
Healthcare Assistant Job Description
The role of a Band 2 Healthcare Assistant is to help look after patients in hospitals or in patients’ own homes during a house visit. In the role of a healthcare assistant, you’ll work under the guidance and training of a qualified healthcare professional. Note that healthcare assistants can also be known as nursing assistants, auxiliary nurses, and nursing auxiliaries.
Healthcare Assistants are crucial to the running of the NHS, as they can work on any ward and perform a range of tasks according to their training and experience. From washing and dressing patients to taking blood samples or ensuring patients are comfortable, a career as a Healthcare Assistant is hands on but incredibly rewarding. Responsibilities include:
- Observing and monitoring patients’ conditions.
- Recording patients’ temperatures, pulse, respirations and weight
- Communication with patients, their relatives and carers
- Assisting with clinical duties
- Maintaining patient personal care, including infection prevention and control, food, and personal hygiene
- Ensuring patient comfort and safety
- Promoting positive mental, physical and nutritional health with patients
CV Writing and Interviews for Healthcare Assistants
Many Healthcare Assistant job adverts will ask you to complete an application form. However, it is still useful to have a full CV – this will allow you to refer to it when completing online applications, as well as usually being requested by nurse staffing agencies.
The key points to remember when writing your HCA CV is to keep everything succinct; your CV should be logical, well organised, clear, and relevant to the job you’re applying for. Your CV shouldn’t contain any silly mistakes (like spelling errors), as it will suggest you lack common sense and do not pay attention to detail.
While having previous experience in healthcare isn’t a requirement for the job role of a Healthcare Assistant, it is preferred. A candidate who has experience is far more appealing than one who has nothing. You can get experience from paid or voluntary work, or in the form of apprenticeships. For HCA CVs, you should emphasise the relevant healthcare and care experience you have. When outlining your healthcare experience, focus on the key skills that you have learnt, such as bedside manner, record taking, undertaking health checks and partaking in health education. For more information, the Royal College of Nursing offer some really great additional resources for CV writing.
In a Healthcare Assistant interview, you’ll need to be able to explain what qualifies you for the position advertised – highlight how your experiences meet the key duties outlined in the job description. For first time roles, you’ll need to be able to explain why you want a career as a Healthcare Assistant. It is also important for you to the most important skills required to become a HCA, and how you manage your time and workload in high pressure environments. For more experienced roles, you’ll need to give clear examples of when you have gone the extra mile to care for patients, as well as how you keep up with the latest nursing developments.
Healthcare Assistant Training & Certifications
There are no set entry requirements for the role of a healthcare assistant, but employers prefer applicants with GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and Maths. In some cases, they will want a healthcare qualification, such as BTEC or NVQ.
Whilst experience isn’t essential, employers prefer candidates with experience of healthcare or care work. This could be from paid or voluntary work.
When you begin your training as a healthcare assistant, it will include basic nursing skills and you’ll work towards the Care Certificate, developed by Skills for Care, Skills for Health and Health Education England and launched in 2015.
How Much Does a Healthcare Assistant Earn?
Annual salaries for Band 2 Healthcare Assistants range between £16,532 and £18,903 dependent upon experience.
Ready to take the next step in your nursing career? Find out more about the variety of band 5 health care assistant roles available from Mimosa Staffing.