Career Profile: Nursing Assistant

We spoke with former student, Andrew Postlethwaite, who studied Level 3 Health and Social Care at Calderdale College about his current role working in the NHS as a Nursing Assistant. Read on to learn about his profession, including the best and worst bits, and his tip’s if you’re thinking of a career in Health and Social Care too.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

I am a Nursing Assistant at Manchester Royal Infirmary. I work in the Elective Treatment Centre and care for patients pre surgery by taking bloods, putting in cannulas, checking oxygen levels and other basic patient observations.

I have been working as a Nursing Assistant since I completed my studies at Calderdale College last summer.

Why did you choose to become a Nursing Assistant?

The reason I chose to be a Nursing Assistant is because I wanted to help people and make a difference in the community. I love my job and would not change it for the world.

What does a typical day as a Healthcare Assistant look like?

07:00-07:15 Daily safety huddle
A typical shift starts at 7am. The day starts with the daily safety huddle. The safety huddle is led by the head nurse, we’re told about; how many patients have been admitted for surgery, how many female and male beds we have and how many spare beds we have on the unit. We are also assigned jobs for the day.

07:15-08:30 Admin and patient assignment
Once the daily safety huddle is over, we make our way to our assigned unit, which could be either the Day Case or Surgical Admissions unit. There are a number of admin tasks to complete to ensure each patient is listed for observations and are clearly identifiable. We do this by recording each patient’s name and bed number on a communal board and collecting their records.

08:30-17.00 Observations
The rest of the day is spent conducting and recording patient observations by taking blood pressures, putting in and taking out cannulas, taking oxygen stats and much more.

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What misconceptions do people often have about your job?

People and patients often think that Nursing Assistants are a different type of Nurse as we have ‘nurse’ in our job title. Nurses are more qualified than assistants and usually an assistant is someone gaining experience before they train to become more qualified.

What are the best bits of your job?

The best bits about my job are the fact that I get to care for and help the public. Even if I make one difference to a patient’s day, to me that means the world. And also my team, when we’re working 12 hour shifts together we all have to get along, because of this you create bonds like a second family.

What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?

If you really want to get into this profession, then go for it. You won’t regret it. When you qualify and get a job, you’ll be assigned to a department or skill area and you will be joining a team of amazing, wonderful people that will become your second family. Also, I’d say, give it your everything, every time you walk through the doors onto the ward. Your team will respect you for working hard and your patients will thank you for it too.