What do health assistants do? A descriptive survey of ward manager’s views of the role of the health care assistant in the acute hospital

Jack, B., Brown, A. and Chapman, T. (2005) What do health assistants do? A descriptive survey of ward manager’s views of the role of the health care assistant in the acute hospital. Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference, 8-11 March, Belfast.

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Background: The last decade has seen a change in the nursing workforce with a reduction of enrolled nurses, the supernumerary status of student nurses and the development of health care assistants (HCA) role (Thornley 2000). There is limited evidence to identify the actual role of the HCA, with a diversity of procedures being undertaken ranging from tidying a ward to undertaking complex clinical procedures. With the advent of the Agenda for Change (Dof H 2001) and new roles such as ward housekeepers it is important to identify what HCA are doing. Methodology: The aim of this study was to explore the current role (clinical and non- clinical) and potential for expansion of the health care assistant role (Jack et al 200�). A confidential descriptive survey using a total population sample was sent to all ward managers in one large acute hospital trust. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics. Additional open ended questions were analysed for emerging themes. Results and Discussion: A response rate of 9�% (n=��) was obtained. The ward managers indicated that HCA undertook a wide range of clinical and non clinical procedures. All respondents identified the role of the HCA to include general tidying. Serving food, portering/ general transporting were the second and third most reported non clinical procedures. The three most reported clinical procedures undertaken by HCA’s were feeding patients, recording observations /fluid balance and bathing patients by over 72% (n=��)of ward managers. Additionally 81.8% (27) of the ward managers reported the role of the health care assistant could be expanded, although concerns were raised about the need for additional training and supervision. This paper will discuss the findings including the wide diversity of the role. Suggestions for further research and the potential impact of the new ward housekeeper role will be made.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Nursing and Midwifery
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2011 15:59
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/2336

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