Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I have been working bank shifts as a healthcare assistant in my trust. Just to earn a little extra money. At first it was liberating having next to no responsibility. All you have to do is worry about washes, feeds and obs, everything else is the nurses job. This soon became quite frustrating a patient becomes breathless or starts desaturating and as a student nurse I would shove them on oxygen. I cant do this as an HCA I have to ask the nurse. A patient complains of chest pain I cant just put them on high flow o2, do an ecg and show it to a doctor, I have to wait until a nurse appears so I can ask her if its ok.

I was in a bed space yesterday with a nurse and the patient starts vomiting large quantities of blood, the nurse asked me to get a doctor or another nurse in there as quickly as possible. I go out to the nurses station where the doctors are discussing their rounds and I shout, "we have a problem with a patient, we need help NOW!" everyone, every last one of the doctors and nurses in sight said "find someone else, i'm busy". So i go back to the bedspace and hit the resus alarm, this gets some fairly immediate attention. Despite the fact this tactic worked in the face of overwhelming stupidity I spend the next two hours being shouted at for misuse of the alarm and making the senior sister look like an idiot.

When I'm qualified and running a ward if I EVER see a member of staff ignoring an urgent call for help I will see to it that even if I cant fire them the only favourable option available to them will be to quit.

The patient survived, just about.


Sage said...

I was wondering about a job as a healthcare assistant, any ideas on how to get one with no experience?

and on a side note, I agree with you completely both as a patient and one who cared for a patient that some of the nursing and medical staff were lacking care and concern. Others were just sheer brilliance.


Asclepius said...

You could talk to your local hospital see if they have a nurse bank? This effectively means that you get a days basic training and then when there are shifts that need covering they will phone you, you go and work as an hca for a shift. No prior experience needed and its a good way to get experience on a lot of wards. Trouble is you never really feel like part of the team.

Most HCA jobs dont really require previous experience but if someone with experience applies then they'll probably get it over someone with no experience. Most employers now do insist on training their carers up to at least NVQ2 now but if you wanted a job with the NHS they would happily train you to NVQ3 or second you for a degree in nursing.