Healthcare Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Healthcare Assistant, or HCA cares for patients in a hospital, residential care facility or a patient’s home. Their duties include assisting patients with daily activities, checking vital signs and assisting nursing staff when necessary.


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Healthcare Assistant duties and responsibilities

Healthcare Assistants must be well versed in a number of care and medical techniques. They must be informed about the most recent care techniques available and always be looking for ways to improve their skills and knowledge. Some common duties and responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with daily living activities such as eating, showering and using the toilet
  • Utilising equipment to move patients when necessary 
  • Helping tidy the patient’s home or room
  • Taking the patient’s vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Talking to patients and reassuring them
  • Attending meetings with other healthcare professionals
  • Assisting nurses and other staff when needed
  • Adhering to professional standards
  • Delivering reports to Case Managers and reviewing any important changes in the patient’s condition


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What does a Healthcare Assistant do?

A Healthcare Assistant’s main concerns and responsibilities revolve around the well-being of the patients assigned to them. This can include helping patients with everyday activities like using the bathroom or taking medication along with checking their vital signs and documenting their progress. They monitor a patient’s progress and report their findings to the nursing staff and the patient’s family. 


Healthcare Assistant skills and qualifications

Healthcare Assistants must be able to show empathy and understanding to the many patients they care for. A successful Healthcare Assistant will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that include: 

  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks safely and efficiently
  • Clear verbal communication skills to explain sensitive information
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • The ability to work well with their hands
  • Capability to accept criticism
  • The ability to work well with others


Healthcare Assistant experience requirements

All applicants must have the ability to provide care and comfort to their patients. Applicants should be able to demonstrate this through their previous job or voluntary experiences in a healthcare setting, or in a personal care role. Applicants who attended college will have hands-on experience through work placement programmes. If this is an entry-level position where no experience is required, make sure applicants understand the responsibilities and safety involved with providing personal assistance to patients. 


Healthcare Assistant education and training requirements

Organisations prefer job seekers to have completed either a Level 2 Certificate in Work Preparation for Health and Social Care, Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care or Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care. Some applicants will have also completed an intermediate apprenticeship as a Healthcare Support Worker. Exceptional applicants are members of the Royal College of Nursing where they were able to receive additional training and professional development courses. 


Healthcare Assistant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Healthcare Assistant is £10.57 per hour in the UK. Salary may be dependent on experience, location and company.


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Healthcare Assistant job description FAQs


Who does a Healthcare Assistant report to?

A Healthcare Assistant is able to perform their daily tasks with little oversight but must be able to report to the nursing staff about the status of a patient. They may have to update their Nursing Manager daily through electronic charts, or on a weekly basis during general meetings. A Healthcare Assistant must be able to handle and organise numerous patients’ records so that they are clearly accessible by the nursing staff when required. A Healthcare Assistant may also be tasked with reporting a patient’s progress to the patient’s family.


What is the difference between a Healthcare Assistant and a Support Worker?

The two positions are quite similar and have overlapping areas of responsibility. The main difference is the daily working environment. A Healthcare Assistant usually works in an NHS setting and is employed by a hospital. A Support Worker usually works in a patient’s home or residential care facility and may be employed by the patient’s family. The responsibilities are generally the same, although a Healthcare Assistant may be called upon to help the nursing staff more frequently, depending on the hospital. 


How can you make your Healthcare Assistant job description stand out?

Focus on the overall working environment that the applicant will experience, such as highlighting support they will receive from fellow Assistants and managerial staff. List competitive elements including family-friendly benefits, pension contributions, salary, cycle to work programmes and anything else that emphasises the unique benefits of the organisation. Also, mention any resources provided to help employees advance professionally through external courses and training. Some Healthcare Assistant employees may want to gain experience and training with patients before becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. 

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