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Career Advice

5 Crucial Steps to Becoming a Healthcare Assistant

Written by

Eric Smith

Date posted

18 January, 2023

Playing an integral role in the day-to-day running of care homes across the country, Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) are responsible for looking after residents and ensuring they remain comfortable and at ease. HCAs are a crucial element of the UK Healthcare sector and are relied upon by nurses, doctors and most importantly, those who need care.

Becoming an HCA is extremely straightforward and can be a great steppingstone to beginning a career in healthcare. It’s for this reason that the team at Coyle Care have outlined 5 crucial steps to kickstart your career:


#1 – Understanding the role’s responsibilities

Before you apply to any role, no matter the industry, it’s important to possess a strong gauge of exactly what is required and the expectations upon yourself. Thankfully, as a Healthcare Assistant you’ll work under the guidance of experienced healthcare professionals and the work is extremely rewarding. You’ll be expected to carry out tasks such as the following:

  • Help residents feel comfortable
  • Wash and dress residents
  • Make beds and ensure a pleasant living environment is maintained
  • Serve meals and feed residents
  • Monitor the conditions of residents e.g., temperature, pulse, etc.
  • Always remain observant and take notes of any issues or problems
  • Communicate effectively with residents and senior management staff

Healthcare Assistants usually work a standard 37.5-hour week, but Agency HCAs can often pick and choose their shift patterns to fit around their busy lives. With Coyle Care, you’ll also receive the necessary support to help you succeed in your role.


#2 – Harnessing your true potential

Whilst there are no set entry requirements to becoming a Healthcare Assistant, it does require several specific personality characteristics. You need to be caring, compassionate and cheerful, with a willingness to do hands-on tasks. If those traits sound like something you’d describe yourself as, then working as an HCA is the ideal role for you.

As one of the leading providers of HCAs in the UK, Coyle Care does require candidates to possess good literacy and numeracy skills (ideally GCSE Maths and English) but this isn’t always a deciding factor. As part of the many benefits, you receive when working with Coyle, candidates are offered full inclusive training towards a Care certificate (free of charge) as well as support towards training as a nurse, midwife, or other healthcare profession.


#3 – Industry related experience

Any prior experience in the healthcare sector is beneficial, whether it is paid or voluntary work. The role of a Healthcare Assistant can be quite demanding at times so it’s important you’re fully prepared for the position and the environment you may be working in. Gaining experience as an HCA will prove that you have a genuine interest in the work and help you develop the necessary skills required.

There is plenty of voluntary care work available across the UK, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in immediately. Perhaps there is an elderly relative or family friend who requires help on a daily basis? By providing support on several occasions, you’ll quickly understand the patience and benevolence required to succeed in this role.


#4 – Knowing where best to begin

Working permanently with a private care or residential home is the most common way to start your career as a Healthcare Assistant but it’s not always the right fit for everyone. Working a 37.5-hour week of day, night and weekend shifts can be extremely tiring, especially with the large number of nurse shortages currently present in the UK.

Agency work on the other hand can present the perfect opportunity to start your career as an HCA and maintain control over your life. Work the hours you desire for the pay you deserve. In the UK, a Band 2 Healthcare Assistant typically earns up to £14 per hour and an entry level HCA working with Coyle Care can expect to earn a very similar amount.


#5 – What are you waiting for? Apply Today!

Now all that’s left to do is apply! There’s never been a better time to kickstart your career in healthcare and becoming a Healthcare Assistant with Coyle Care is the ideal starting point. The earlier you start applying for roles, the earlier you can start making a real difference to the lives of elderly people and giving back to your community.

If you possess the qualities outlined above, you can begin working as an HCA immediately and gain additional qualifications whilst in the role to help you to progress your career. For example, if you’re interested in working as a nurse, it’s very common to undertake a nursing apprenticeship or begin training as a nurse whilst working as a Healthcare Assistant.


Get in touch with an expert

If becoming a Healthcare Assistant sounds like the right fit for you, visit our job board to explore all the available roles near you. You’ll be able to easily view jobs by location, salary, or specialism so you can find the ideal opportunity.

Alternatively, register now to find out more about what we offer at Coyle Care or give us a call and one of our experienced team members can explain the role in more detail.

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