Day in the life of healthcare support workers

On Wednesday 23rd November 2022, we are celebrating healthcare support workers and the work they do each day.

Healthcare support workers and healthcare assistants are an integral part of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Each department and ward across the Trust have both roles working within the teams to help with the running of wards, deliver patient-centred care, act as a patient advocate, offer support to patients and provide a safe environment for both staff and patients.

Healthcare Educators Melanie Stevenson and Michelle Reilly said, “As a Trust, we need to acknowledge the importance of this workforce. The role of the healthcare social worker (HCSW) has changed dramatically over the years and patient care is always at the heart of everything that we do.

On Wednesday 23rd November, we are celebrating the healthcare support workers appreciation day and the work they do. The HCSW’s are hardworking, loyal, caring and compassionate, they deserve this day of recognition and thanks.”

Read more about the various roles below:

A day in the life of a healthcare assistant in the outpatient department

Healthcare assistants in the outpatients department.
Healthcare assistants in the outpatients department.

“On a typical day, we conduct checks on the equipment to ensure it is ready for use and prepare the clinics with anything the consultants might need such as prescription pads, gowns, or other equipment used for examinations.

“Then when the patients arrive, we carry out whatever pre-examination checks are needed such as weight, height, BMI, blood pressure or urinalysis.

“We assist the consultants in the smooth running of the clinics, act as chaperones, clean the examination rooms between patients and take bloods when required.

“We also cover multiple sites including the Tranwell unit, ENT (ear, nose, throat), Windy Nook outpatients, breast unit, Trinity Square, Blaydon and Grindon. 

“At the end of the clinics, we ensure all prescription pads and equipment are put away, rooms are locked, and everything is ready for the out-of-hours GP service.”

A day in the life of a psychology support worker

“Each day can vary and no two days are the same for a psychology support worker. 

“I feel my job is all about really understanding a patient, getting to know them inside out, getting to know their family, understanding their illness and formulating an understanding of what affects their current difficulties. Then working with a patient, we will establish what is important for them; what they need and what is best for their recovery. 

“My typical day can see me attending ward rounds alongside the wider MDT [multidisciplinary teams] feeding back the psychology input and the formulation process.

“I will have formal appointments with patients on the ward with an agreed reason for the meeting, which can involve anxiety management, low-level CBT [cognitive behavioural therapy] type intervention such as the worry tree and worry cycle, behavioural activation, graded exposure, sleep hygiene or psychological cognitive assessments.

“However, many of the appointments are focused on the ‘5P formulation process’ which is an approach to CBT that incorporates presenting problem, predisposing factors, precipitating factors, perpetuating factors and protective factors.

“This formulation is a biopsychosocial approach to understanding a patient, it incorporates a holistic approach to a patient and aims to encompass not only the psychological but the biological reasons and possible social deficits as to why a patient presents the way they do.

“It’s a way for shared understanding and can often help provide a patient with the space to explore past or current triggers to their own mental health. 

“There are times when I will speak with patients on a more informal basis, share a cup of tea or engage in recreational type activities which can aid in the assessment of a patient’s current difficulties.

“The work in which I undertake is often varied and dependent on the presentation of the patients who are admitted to the ward as well as the stage in which their recovery is at.

“It can at times be intense but with that comes a huge reward. I find nothing more humbling than to have a patient trust you with their most vulnerable and deepest thoughts, it’s a privilege that I do not take for granted and an extremely rewarding job position.”

Day in the life of a healthcare assistant on Sunniside

Healthcare assistant on Sunniside unit
Healthcare assistant on Sunniside unit

“I currently work on the inpatient older person’s mental health ward (Sunniside) and I am fortunate to be able to support patients on the ward at a very difficult and stressful time.  I can offer support to our patients as well as listen to often personal and distressing concerns our patients have.   

“While our patients are on the ward it provides them with a safe environment to be able to explore their feelings whilst they are on their road to recovery. 

“I am in a privileged position when working with our patients to ensure that all support is given to them. Whether this is in the form of assistance with their personal care, encouraging food or fluid intake, or attending to their physical care needs such as blood pressure and other physical interventions. As well as supporting the psychological and social aspects of their wellbeing by encouraging engagement in community groups or wellbeing groups. 

“As a team, we work closely with the consultants and the MDT, it is a great feeling and motivating that our consultants are always interested in our interactions with our patients. Feeling valued as an unqualified part of the team is important to me.

“An important part of working within mental health is the team, we have a wonderful team who strive to ensure our patients receive the best care we can offer and as a team, this is something we are all very proud of.”

Day in the life of a Nursery Nurse in the Paediatric department

Wendy Oliver from paediatrics department
Wendy Oliver from paediatrics department

“My name is Wendy Oliver and I am a nursery nurse in the Paediatric department. I have such a rewarding job in the Paediatric department where I support children in A&E, Children’s short stay department, the children’s day unit and the children’s outpatient department.

“The aim of my role is to organise daily play activities in each department and use play to prepare children for hospital procedures such as injections or operations. I have developed a variety of resources. For example, photographs, books, puppets and sensory packs can support the children whilst in hospital and hopefully help to identify if there is anything worrying the child about the procedure.

“I also provide a distraction for children during the procedure which is tailored to meet the needs of each individual child. This could be blowing bubbles, singing songs, 3D television or reading stories. This depends on the age/ stage of development and the child’s interests.

“Distraction is aimed to limit the amount of distress caused to the child, as well as make the procedure easier to carry out. If needed I will go to various departments within the Trust where children need support, such as x-ray, in the plaster room and in special care.

“I have developed a teaching programme for local schools to promote health and wellbeing where I educate children about what it might be like if they had to come to the hospital and to help to reduce any anxiety and fears, the feedback from this programme has been extremely positive.

I look forward to coming to work each day as my job is so varied and there are never two days the same.”