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What Does A Healthcare Assistant Do?

Penelope Turner

Publish Date: 17 April 2024

Healthcare assistants are essential healthcare team members in places like hospitals and clinics. They play a significant role in supporting doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, as well as helping patients directly. 

Their job involves providing care to patients and handling administrative duties. Healthcare assistants spend a lot of time helping patients with everyday things like washing, dressing, and eating. They also track patients’ health by checking their temperature and blood pressure. In addition, they help with paperwork, appointments, and keeping records up to date. 


Working as a healthcare assistant can be challenging because it involves many responsibilities. However, it can also be a rewarding career in the UK. Many assistants enjoy knowing they’re making a difference in people’s lives.

What is a healthcare assistant?

Healthcare assistants, also known as HCAs, are vital healthcare team members. They work alongside doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

HCAs help patients with their daily routines, such as getting dressed, eating, and caring for hygiene. They also take patients’ temperature, blood pressure, and other important signs. Sometimes, they even give medications to patients, but only if a nurse or doctor supervises them. Most importantly, HCAs make sure patients are comfortable and happy. 

In addition to caring for patients directly, HCAs also handle some office tasks. For example, they might schedule appointments, update medical records, and keep the healthcare facility running smoothly. Overall, healthcare assistants are key in providing excellent patient care and helping healthcare institutions function efficiently.

So, they are one of the pillars of the healthcare system and serve many important roles. However, they are sadly underappreciated and undervalued.

What are the healthcare assistant’s responsibilities?

Healthcare assistants have lots of important jobs in hospitals and clinics. They help keep patients safe and make sure everything runs smoothly. In addition to this, some of their duties include the following:

  • Direct Patient Care: Healthcare assistants provide hands-on care to patients, assisting them with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. They also monitor patients’ vital signs and report to the medical team.
  • Medication Management: Under the supervision of qualified medical staff, healthcare assistants administer medications to patients, ensuring they receive their prescribed treatments on time.
  • Assistance During Medical Procedures: Healthcare assistants help doctors and nurses during medical procedures and examinations. Moreover, they help to prepare patients and provide support throughout the process.
  • Patient Comfort and Safety: They ensure that patients are comfortable and safe by maintaining clean and hygienic environments, assisting with mobility when necessary, and implementing infection control measures.
  • Administrative Support: Healthcare assistants handle various administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, updating patient records, and ensuring that medical supplies are stocked and organised.
  • Communication and Interaction: They interact with patients and their families, providing emotional support, answering questions, and conveying information about their care plans and treatments.
  • Collaboration with Healthcare Team: Healthcare assistants work closely with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, contributing to multidisciplinary care plans and providing valuable input based on their observations of patients.
  • Emergency Response: In emergencies, healthcare assistants are trained to respond quickly and efficiently, assisting with revival efforts, transferring patients, and providing essential support to the medical team.

How to become a healthcare assistant?

To become a healthcare assistant, you require a blend of healthcare assistant skills, educational qualifications, and online healthcare assistant courses. 

Skills for healthcare assistant

Healthcare assistants possess a diverse set of skills that enable them to effectively fulfil their roles in the healthcare industry. These skills are crucial for providing quality patient care and supporting medical professionals. Some key skills that healthcare assistants typically possess:

  • Kindness and Sympathy
  • Effective Communication
  • Attention to Detail
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-Solving
  • Ethical Standards
  • Technical Competence

Educational Qualification

To become a healthcare assistant, you typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Certain employers might favour candidates who have undergone extra training or obtained certification in healthcare assistance. Training programs cover topics like patient care and medical terminology. Besides formal education, qualities like compassion and communication skills are also crucial for success in this role.

  • Online Courses: Online courses are a suitable and flexible way to make you a healthcare assistant. Moreover, having certification in these courses can greatly help with your resume.

In fact, Unified Course offers many easy-to-learn and effective healthcare assistant courses! You can enrol with us and start your career easily.

How to become a healthcare assistant

Here are some topics you might learn in healthcare assistant courses:

  • Basic patient care techniques
  • Medical terminology
  • Infection control procedures
  • Ethical standards in healthcare
  • Health and safety regulations
  • Communication skills for healthcare settings
  • Understanding patient rights and confidentiality
  • Administering medication safely
  • Recognising signs of patient distress or emergency
  • Assisting with medical procedures
  • Record-keeping and documentation in healthcare
  • Cultural sensitivity and diversity awareness
  • Teamwork and collaboration in healthcare environments
  • Understanding medical emergencies and responding appropriately
  • Personal care assistance for patients with specific needs.

How Much Does A Healthcare Assistant Earn?

In the UK, a healthcare assistant typically earns between £18,000 to £25,000 per year. However, this can change depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of healthcare facility they work in. Entry-level positions may start at around £18,000 annually, while those with more experience or working in specialised roles may earn higher salaries. Additionally, healthcare assistants may have opportunities for overtime pay, shift differentials for working unsocial hours, and other benefits their employers provide.


Healthcare Assistants serve one of the most important roles in the healthcare system. However, they are often neglected and underappreciated, especially in less developed countries. Despite all this, they are the foundation that keeps everyone healthy and well. Therefore, they deserve our utmost respect.

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