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  • 06 February 2023
  • 10 min read

Career Pathway - Healthcare Support Worker To Registered Nurse

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  • Nikki Goodhew
    Nurses.co.uk Clinical Career Manager & Registered Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Shepherd Chinyanga
  • 0
  • 2741
By modernising, through dynamic and accessible career pathways, we can shape a workforce that is fit for purpose for the next decade and beyond and positively demonstrate good outcomes, experience, and compassionate care for those who need our support."By modernising, through dynamic and accessible career pathways, we can shape a workforce that is fit for purpose for the next decade and beyond and positively demonstrate good outcomes, experience, and compassionate care for those who need our support."

Nikki Goodhew details a comprehensive apprenticeship guide from Health Care Support Worker to Registered Nurse, giving options for jobs and study at every level.

Personal Qualities Of A Health Care Worker  

If helping others is important to you then taking a step into healthcare, as a Healthcare Support Worker is the start of a journey that could change your life and the lives of those around you. There are many apprenticeship pathways in healthcare but in this article, we will look towards becoming a Registered Nurse.  

So, what qualities and behaviours do you need to ensure you are on the right path to becoming a Healthcare Support Worker? 

You will be caring and compassionate, honest and conscientious. Committed to treating people with dignity, respecting individual's diversity, beliefs, culture, values, needs, privacy, and preferences. You will need to show respect and empathy for those you work with; have the courage to challenge areas of concern and work to best practice. Be adaptable, reliable, and consistent; show discretion; show resilience and self-awareness.  

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Starting On Level 1 & The Level 2 Apprenticeship?

To start this journey, you can work for an NHS Trust as an employee, on a Level 2 apprenticeship where you will work on the wards for approximately 70% of the time with dedicated study time for about 30% of the time, online and with your tutor. The apprenticeship will take between 12-18 months to complete.  

There are no entry requirements to the apprenticeship, but employers may run their own selection process. Apprentices without Level 1 English and Maths will need to achieve this and achieve Level 2 English and Maths prior to completion of their apprenticeship. During the induction process and initial training, you will be introduced to the Care Certificate Standards giving you an excellent introductory overview of care in the following areas and will underpin your knowledge and skills for the future.  

The Care Certificate Standards

·      Understand your role

·      Your personal development

·      Duty of care

·      Equality and diversity

·      Work in a person-centred way             

·      Communication

·      Privacy and dignity

·      Fluids and nutrition

·      Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disabilities

·      Safeguarding adults

·      Safeguarding children

·      Basic life support

·      Health and safety

·      Handling information

·      Infection prevention and control    

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What Does A Health Care Support Worker Do?                                

As a Healthcare Support Worker (HCSW) you work as part of a team providing high quality and compassionate care to individuals.

You will carry out well-defined routine clinical duties like monitoring an individual’s conditions (checking blood pressure, temperature, or weight), checking on their overall progress, comfort, and wellbeing.

Depending on where you work, you may also support patients to eat, drink, wash, dress or go to the toilet.

You will prepare individuals for healthcare activities carried out by other members of the healthcare team, looking after them before, during and/or after those activities in line with their care plan.

You will also carry out non-clinical duties and, depending on where you work, this could include things like keeping records, making beds, tidying up your work area, returning or cleaning the equipment used during a clinical activity.

You will be able to address straightforward problems in your day-to-day work, reporting concerns and changes to your line manager.

HCSW's work in a range of healthcare settings and your team may include workers from both health and social care. You will report to a Registered Healthcare Practitioner who will directly or indirectly supervise your work. 

What HCSW’s Say About the Level 2 Apprenticeship?

I have had the privilege of working directly with HCSW's in weekly coaching sessions over a 6-week period. These are their main takeaways:

· They appreciate the opportunity to earn whilst they learn

· Hands on patient centred care and teamwork embeds their learning

· They are proud to wear a uniform and to be a part of the greater healthcare system

· Enjoy options to progress their careers that fit with their timescales, lifestyles, and work life balance.

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Becoming A Senior Healthcare Support Worker, Level 3

The next step would be Level 3, Diploma in Healthcare Support, taking between 18-24 months to complete and taking you towards becoming a Senior Healthcare Support Worker.

Senior Healthcare Support Workers help registered practitioners deliver healthcare services to people.

As an experienced support worker, you carry out a range of clinical and non-clinical healthcare or therapeutic tasks, under the direct or indirect supervision of the Registered Healthcare Practitioner. You provide high quality, compassionate healthcare, following standards, policies or protocols and always acting within the limits of your competence.

You may work in a range of services e.g. hospital, community, health or day case unit, birth centre or midwifery led unit, someone’s home, operating theatre, nursing or care home, assessment centre, hospice, school, prison, GP surgery, charity, working in partnership with individuals, families, carers and other service providers.

By modernising, through dynamic and accessible career pathways, as demonstrated, we can shape a workforce that is fit for purpose for the next decade and beyond and positively demonstrate good outcomes, experience, and compassionate care for those who need our support.

Options include: adult nursing support, mental health support, maternity support, theatre support, children and young people support and allied health profession therapy support.

Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.

What is the End of Point Assessment (EPA)?

A full-time apprentice typically spends 24 months on-programme working towards competence as a Senior Healthcare Support Worker. All apprentices must spend at least 12 months on-programme and at least 20% of their on-programme time completing off-the-job training.

The EPA has 2 assessment methods. The grades available for each EPA method are:

Assessment Method 1 - observation of practice with questions:

• fail

• pass

Assessment Method 2 - professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio ofevidence:

• fail

• pass

• distinction

The result from each EPA method is combined to decide the overall apprenticeship grade.

Nursing Associate To Registered Nurse, Level 4-5

This is a new occupation, introduced into the health and care workforce to bridge the gap between Health and Care Assistants and Registered Nurses. Nursing Associate is a stand-alone role that will also provide a progression route into graduate level nursing. It’s intended that the role will enable Registered Nurses to focus on more complex clinical duties.

Nursing Associates work in the public, independent and voluntary sectors and it is a statutorily regulated profession. The standards for proficiency are set by the Nursing andMidwifery Council (NMC).

Successful completion of this apprenticeship will meet the education requirements for registration with the NMC.

The typical length of training is 24 months, undertaking academic learning one day a week and work-based learning for the rest of the week.

As a minimum, trainee Nursing Associates will need GCSE’s grade, 9 to 4 (A to C) in Maths and English, or Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English.

They will also need to demonstrate:

• their ability to study to level 5 foundation degree level

• the values and behaviours of the NHS Constitution

• a commitment to completing the programme.

This training is equivalent to a Foundation Degree of Science (FdSC) approved by the NMC which includes mandatory protected learning time and a minimum of 460 hours of external practice placements, supported and arranged with your employer.

This role will suit a confident practitioner, ready to continue their studies to become a Registered Nurse.

Nursing Associates must be emotionally intelligent and resilient individuals, able to manage their own personal health and wellbeing. It is essential they know when to recognise the boundaries of their competencies and how and when to access support.

Once you’ve finished your training, you’ll have the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours to work as a Nursing Associate. Qualified Nursing Associates can also progress to a Registered Nurse by putting their training towards a shortened nursing degree or Registered Nurse degree apprenticeship (RNDA).

Your nursing associate training may shorten a Registered Nurse degree apprenticeship to 2 years.

To find out more about the apprenticeship route, including how to apply, speak with your line manager, education team or apprenticeship lead. Your employer may want you to complete a year working as a Nursing Associate before you progress to Registered Nurse training.

Most Nursing Associates will be on a Band 4 Pay Scale at the completion of their apprenticeship in line with the Agenda for Change.

The Nursing Associate role has additional benefits.

Firstly, it widens the access to careers in nursing and potentially for other health professions. Equally, for those who wish to remain as a Nursing Associate the recognised breadth of the training not only provides national recognition and meaningful career development but transferability of skills within different settings such as community and primary care, mental health or social care.

For employers and clinical leaders, this will also offer a much-welcomed further option of how to safely align the right staff with the right skills to match patient need, dependency and the environment of care. By using appropriate tools and frameworks that support decisions about safe staffing, employers will have increased options on how to manage resources appropriately in accordance with clear, professional, and evidenced based guidance.

The NMC has summarised its standards of proficiency for both a Nursing Associate and a Registered Nurse below.

By modernising, through dynamic and accessible career pathways, we can shape a workforce that is fit for purpose for the next decade and beyond and positively demonstrate good outcomes, experience, and compassionate care for those who need our support.

As a Registered Nurse, it is my opinion the profession needs to continue to adapt and innovate to achieve high-quality care in the right place and at the right time. By modernising, through dynamic and accessible career pathways, as demonstrated, we can shape a workforce that is fit for purpose for the next decade and beyond and positively demonstrate good outcomes, experience, and compassionate care for those who need our support.

Finally, in 6-8 years, someone entering healthcare can go at their own pace and earn as they learn to become a Registered General Nurse.

What a wonderful opportunity to become a professional Healthcare Practitioner and to take your seat at the table of the future of healthcare.

  • Nikki Goodhew
    Nurses.co.uk Clinical Career Manager & Registered Nurse

About the author

  • Nikki Goodhew
    Nurses.co.uk Clinical Career Manager & Registered Nurse

I'm a Registered Nurse with 35+ years experience (lead nurse, practice nurse, clinical lead and health coach) and work at Nurses.co.uk as the Clinical Career Manager, providing career coaching for our community members. I'm passionate about supporting the wellbeing & transformational career development of nurses.

    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Shepherd Chinyanga
  • 0
  • 2741

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