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Healthcare assistants


Would you like to know more about what it’s like to work as a healthcare assistant? Watch this video with healthcare assistant Colin Phillips to discover what it’s like to work in this area.

What do healthcare assistants do?

Healthcare assistants work as part of a team to deliver care for patients in a variety of settings, such as hospitals or a community environment. They work very closely with nurses and other healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists or dietitians to help manage care for the patients.

For example, a dietitian might instruct a healthcare assistant about the type of food that a patient can or can’t eat, or that their drinks need to be thickened to a certain consistency. The healthcare assistant takes this information and uses this to help deliver the best possible care for that patient.

Other typical tasks include helping patients to wash and dress, assisting them with eating their meals, helping them to move around the ward and coordinating with the nurse and team to make sure they have everything they need.

It’s a very varied, dynamic role and a great opportunity to learn about health conditions and interact with patients and healthcare professionals.'

Colin Phillips, Healthcare Assistant


The qualifications needed to become a healthcare assistant vary for each hospital. Some require GCSEs, while others require a vocational qualification. Some hospitals also offer training themselves and therefore no formal qualifications are required.

Excellent people skills are essential for this role. You also need to like people and looking after people in order to make a successful career in this area.

Career opportunities

Many healthcare assistants stay in this role on a long-term basis, developing their knowledge and learning more specialized skills such as taking blood and cannulating patients. These experienced healthcare assistants are highly valued members of the healthcare team.

Others use the wide range of skills and experience they gain in this area to go on to explore different roles within hospital or community settings, such as nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, medicine or dietetics.

Top tip

Working as a healthcare assistant is a great way to explore health settings and find your career in healthcare. You’ll get great insight into working in a hospital, working with different teams and working with patients.

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