|Health Care Assistant (HCA)|
|Exemplar Health Care|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
More about Charlotte
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A day in the life of a Health Care Assistant (HCA) in the United Kingdom
Working in healthcare is incredibly rewarding, every day there is a positive, memorable experience.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
Exemplar Health Care provides nursing care and rehabilitation support for adults with complex needs, resulting from mental ill-health, brain injury and stroke, learning disabilities and autism, complex dementia and neuro-disabilities.
What do you do?
As a HCA, I assist with the day-to-day care of the service users (personal cares and feeding), I provide emotional support and encourage the service users to develop their independence. Also, I take clinical observations and contribute to the development of care plans surrounding the service users I work with.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I have always wanted to work in the mental health sector - which is why I studied psychology. I applied for my current role of HCA so I could gain experience working with a range of individuals, hoping that this would allow me to apply for roles in psychology and nursing in the future.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
No, I wanted to work in this area.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Working in healthcare is incredibly rewarding, every day there is a positive, memorable experience. One memory that sticks out to me, though, is from when I worked as a rehabilitation support worker in a brain injury hospital. I accompanied a service user while they were having their physiotherapy sessions and I remember feeling elated for them when they started being able to walk again. It was a long and slow process, but it was amazing to see the progress they made!
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Yes, however, these are challenges that can apply to working in healthcare in general: staffing levels, long hours and being low paid. The satisfaction from doing the job well and improving the service users’ lives makes it worth it though.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
While at university, I undertook two part-time jobs, mainly to gain experience for applications to the clinical psychology doctorate, but also to supplement the student loan I got. The first job was working in the community with someone who had a physical disability, and the second was in a brain injury hospital. Also, I volunteered with Open Minds and went into secondary schools to spread awareness and education of various common mental health conditions.
These experiences solidified my passion for working in the mental health sector and allowed me to acquire important communication skills, which have benefitted me in my current role.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I’m hoping to go back to university and complete a mental health nursing degree to become a registered mental health nurse.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Don’t worry if you’re not sure what you want to do after graduation, take your time and research different areas and roles. Also, you don’t have to work in the sector that you completed your degree in, there are plenty of people that studied one subject at university and now work in an unrelated role. Finally, try not to put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t end up with the job you want immediately after graduation! These things take time, so try to gain some experience in that area first.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Anything, but I’ll probably give the best answers to questions regarding my degree/doing an integrated master’s, gaining experience for psychology roles and applying for/working in support/HCA roles.
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