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How to become a healthcare assistant when you have no experience

Working as a healthcare assistant is a rewarding job in its own right but it also provides a useful first step on the healthcare career ladder. 

If you don’t currently have any relevant experience in the field, you might be worried that your opportunities will be limited but it’s still possible to achieve your career goals.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what skills and qualifications are needed to become a healthcare assistant and how you can work in healthcare without experience.

What does a healthcare assistant do?

The term Healthcare Assistant (HCA) usually refers to someone working within the NHS. Healthcare Assistants may also be known as a Nursing Assistant or Nursing Auxiliary, but these job titles aren’t commonly used any more. The term Care Assistant is more commonly associated with staff working in care homes or in domiciliary care.

 

Healthcare Assistants provide personal care or support the patient with personal care while also helping to protect their dignity and personal comfort. This could include help with personal hygiene and getting dressed or assisting with meals and drinks. The HCA will also be responsible for documenting the care they provide and informing their nursing colleagues if they notice any changes in the patient.

Once they have completed the initial health care assistant courses, HCAs may be able to complete further training to allow them to carry out other duties. This could include taking baseline observations such as pulse, temperature and blood pressure.

What skills does a Healthcare Assistant need?

The way that you speak and listen to the people in your care is very important, so Healthcare assistants need to be good communicators. And because you will be providing care for vulnerable people, it is also important that you are able to treat them with dignity and compassion. 

If you haven’t got any formal experience in the care sector, you may still have some transferable skills that show you would be able to work as a Healthcare Assistant. This could include personal experience as a parent, babysitting for young children or providing care for older relatives. You may also have relevant skills that you have gained from working in retail or customer service.

What qualifications does a Healthcare Assistant need?

There are no mandatory entry qualifications that are needed to become an HCA, which is why it is such a good stepping stone to a career in the healthcare sector.

Once you have secured a role as an HCA, you will need to complete Care Certificate training which provides you with the skills you will need in your new career. This is work based training that can be completed through online courses. 

Most employers offer new Healthcare Assistants a six month probationary period so that they can settle into their new role and complete the Care Certificate. After this probationary period, healthcare training courses offer further opportunities for career progression. 

Caredemy’s range of online healthcare assistant training courses are a convenient way for busy Healthcare Assistants to fit training into their schedule. The online learning dashboard makes it easy to pick up a course where you left off, and unlimited resits are available if required. Our courses are written by experts and can also be used for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

What to do if you have no experience in healthcare

If you want to work in the healthcare sector but don’t have any formal experience, it’s a good idea to try and secure a care assistant job in the social care sector first. This could be a job working in a care home or providing care for people in their own home. 

Make sure that you include any transferable skills on your CV to give yourself the best chance of securing an interview. And if you are offered an interview, be sure to research the role and the organisation beforehand so that you can show genuine interest in the job.

Once you have some experience working in the care sector, you will be in a much stronger position when the time comes to apply for Healthcare Assistant jobs.

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