Health Care Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Health Care Assistant, or Nursing Assistant provides care to patients in medical facilities. Their primary duties include completing basic clinical procedures, performing administrative duties and providing assistance to Nurses and other healthcare professionals. 


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Health Care Assistant duties and responsibilities

A Health Care Assistant plays a crucial role in ensuring that patients are not only comfortable, but also have their personal needs met. They also keep the managing Nurse updated with the information about the conditions and mental states of the patients. Their daily duties and responsibilities can include: 

  • Helping the patient with exercises
  • Turning a bedridden patient on a schedule
  • Feeding the patients and helping them drink
  • Cleaning patients teeth and assisting them during a shower and bath
  • Making the patient’s bed, changing the bedding and providing them with toileting assistance
  • Keeping patient records up to date and taking their medical histories
  • Reporting all changes on the patients and other important observations to the Nurse
  • Monitoring patient vital signs and health
  • Adhering to professional standards, following policies and procedures and aided by government regulatory requirements, as well as Nursing standards


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What does a Health Care Assistant do?

Health Care Assistants carry out a range of administrative and patient care duties. In medical facilities, they interview patients, record data, assist patients with medical exams and keep the exam room equipment in good condition. In hospitals and long-term care facilities, they check patients’ vital signs, serve meals and help patients with their hygiene needs. In the field of dentistry, Health Care Assistants may sterilise equipment, make casts of teeth and take x-rays. Some Health Care Assistants with Nursing Assistant certifications work as Home Care Aides, providing health-related services to patients who are homebound. Health Care Assistants work in fields that range from cardiology and nursing to physical therapy and mental health. 


Health Care Assistant skills and qualifications

A successful Health Care Assistant candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications to perform their duties effectively, these include:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills 
  • Good Physically fitness and stamina to lift and move patients and equipment
  • In-depth understanding of hospital health and safety procedures
  • Ability to follow instructions and keen observation skills 
  • Ability to multitask and time management skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Thorough attention to detail
  • Good organisation skills


Health Care Assistant experience requirements

Health Care Assistants must have at least one year of experience working in hospitals, nursing homes or companies that provide in-home healthcare. They must also have experience in a caring role. Previous medical experience is useful but not required. Senior-level Health Care Assistant positions usually require at least five years of experience as a Health Care Assistant. 


Health Care Assistant education and training requirements

There are no set education requirements for a Health Care Assistant position. However, many employers prefer candidates who have General Certificates of Secondary Education at grades 9-4 (A* to C). They also prefer candidates who have healthcare qualifications, such as the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) — Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care, Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care and Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care.


Health Care salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary of a Health Care Assistant in the UK is £10.59 an hour. Their actual salary varies depending on factors, including their level of experience, geographic location and employer. 


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Health Care Assistant job description FAQs


What qualities make a good Health Care Assistant?

Health Care Assistants must have a kind and patient demeanour. They are able to slow things down when necessary and not push the patient beyond a pace they cannot handle. They are able to empathise with the patient by putting themselves in that patient’s place and show patients dignity and respect,  that results in cooperation and trust.  


What is the difference between a Health Care Assistant and a Nurse?

Health Care Assistants work in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, with a certificate however, they can find work in rehab facilities, clinics and hospitals. Their primary duties consist of bathing, cleaning and helping patients toilet duties. They should be qualified to feed patients and take their vitals. Nurses have the widest array of duties that  includes providing treatments under the Doctor’s supervision, monitoring and operating medical equipment, recording and observing patient symptoms and overseeing a staff of Health Care Assistants and Practical Nurses. 


Who does a Health Care Assistant report to?

Health Care Assistants report to a Doctor or Registered Nurse in a medical facility. They also report to the patient’s family.

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