Summary of occupation
Patient care assistants are usually responsible for providing support and services to meet the patient needs which can include cleaning, catering, laundry and transferring patients internally within a hospital or health care environment. Specific duties vary dependant on the position you apply for. Job descriptions will usually outline specific job requirements. Patient care assistants may be required to use cleaning agents, assist with lifting, turning and re-positioning patients, assist nursing staff in making beds, provide equipment to ward/bed areas eg intravenous poles or transport patients.
Assists with the provision of care to patients in a hospital by ensuring wards are neat and tidy, lifting and turning patients and transporting them in wheelchairs or on movable beds, and providing direct care and support.
A patient care assistant needs:
- to be able to work as part of a team;
- communication skills;
- to be able to work under minimal supervision;
- to maintain patient confidentiality; and
- a friendly and caring approach.
Patient care assistants usually work indoors in a hospital or health care environment. Your position may involve using hospital strength cleaning agents required to meet hospital infection control standards. Patient care assistants may be required to work shiftwork.
On average, patient care assistants, classified under nursing support and personal care workers, can expect to earn between $902 and $964 per week ($46 921 and $50 121 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a patient care assistant develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Patient care assistants can be required to use a range of tools and technologies including: equipment to transport patients, lifting aids, cleaning equipment.
You can work as a patient care assistant without formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in health services assistance or health support services.
The Certificate II and III in Health Support Services and the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You may also improve your employment prospects if you complete a traineeship. The health service assistance or health support services traineeships usually take 12 months to complete are also available as school-based traineeships.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.