The job of a Healthcare Assistant in Ireland is a qualified position, meaning not just anyone can apply for this position like in the UK. In order to apply for this position you will need to have a Healthcare Assistant qualification, or an equivalent qualification. The qualification in Ireland is call the FETAC Level 5 in Care, if you have completed a Healthcare Assistant course in your home country it is probably all you will need. Also if you have completed another healthcare qualification, like nursing or Physiotherapy this course will exceed that of an HCA allowing you to apply for this position.
Why would a qualified Nurse apply for this position?
Normally a qualified Nurse would not apply for this position, when they are waiting to complete the registration with the NMBI (Irish Nursing Board), and they are interested in gaining experience in the Irish Healthcare System. Working as a Healthcare Assistant in Ireland will also give you a chance to perfect you English in preparation for you required English Test for the NMBI.
For a lot of EU trained nurses, a Healthcare Assistant job in Ireland will pay them more than a nursing position in their home country. You can then use this money to invest in your English preparation, which will dramatically speed up the process to getting you NMBI Pin Number so you can start working as a Nurse.
Finally once you complete the Registration process with the NMBI, you will probably get offered a nursing position with the same employer you have been working with as a Healthcare Assistant. In this situation you will be familiar with your employer and all the systems meaning you will hit the ground as a nurse.
Healthcare Assistant Job Description
Depending on who you ask you will hear many different one line descriptions of the role of a Healthcare assistant. Ranging from the best job in the world to the worst job in the world, and depending on the day both answers are right. It is a challenging role and in my humble opinion id highly underpaid, you are not going to become financially rich working as a Healthcare Assistant. It is, however an incredibly rewarding job for those who genuinely care about others.
What is a Healthcare Assistant?
In this position, you will work in a community or hospital setting, such as a hospital, or Nursing Home. Normally Nurses guide you and you spend your day helping patients or residents to perform daily activities. This may include washing and dressing, eating and drinking, assistance with daily activities, assistance moving around, and toileting.
As a Healthcare Assistant you will normally have more direct contact with the patient or resident than other members of the medical team, so a huge part of your role involves alerting doctors or nurses to new issues with patients. You also liaise with other members of staff to help develop a suitable care plan.
Healthcare Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Ideally, you can show evidence of prior experience in the field when creating your healthcare assistant CV. Remember, patients depend on you, so you must take all duties seriously. Daily tasks may include:
- Replacing a patient’s linens to help them remain clean and comfortable.
- Helping patients with limited mobility to perform basic tasks such as going to the bathroom and washing themselves.
- Sterilising the equipment used in the medical facility.
- Getting in touch with superiors to discuss any changes to a patient’s condition.
- Helping patients to feed themselves in some cases.
In general, you can expect to work 36-42 hours per week and will do so in shifts. This means you can expect to work evenings, weekends, and perhaps even nights because many medical facilities are open 24/7. During your shift, you are assigned specific patients that you oversee for the duration of your day.
What skills does a Healthcare Assistant need?
When you create your healthcare assistant cover letter, try to include evidence of these skills:
- A high degree of empathy and sensitivity, not to mention patience.
- A caring and kind nature.
- A willingness to assist patients with personal care tasks.
- A friendly and cheerful disposition.
- The ability to follow complex procedures and instructions.
- A desire to use your initiative, but also to work in a team.
- Excellent observational and communication skills.
- Strong time management and organisational skills.
Pros and Cons to being a Healthcare Assistant
One of the big positives of being a healthcare assistant is the opportunity to develop close relationships with people. It is far removed from being a ‘boring’ role as you are unlikely to have two days that are the same. You will get a feeling of tremendous satisfaction when you help patients. There is also a high demand for people capable of performing the role. If you have the ambition, you could complete additional training and study to gain promotion to a more lucrative position.
On the downside, it is exhausting work: Physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are days where you feel completely spent, and you will occasionally come across ‘difficult’ patients. This is where you need your compassion, patience, and sense of humour. Sadly, you will lose patients, and that becomes tough to handle, especially when you have developed a rapport. Finally, the salary is nowhere near as high as healthcare assistants warrant.
Healthcare Assistant Salary
Your salary depends on several factors, not least the medical facility. In general, a new healthcare assistant will likely earn €23,000 – €25,000 per annum. This translates into a net take home pay of around €1,800 per month.
Healthcare Assistant Career Path
I will cover Healthcare Assistant interview questions and preparation in a different blog, but before you get ready for an interview you need to make sure you know how to get your foot in the door. In the United Kingdom, but in Ireland you will be required to have a FETAC healthcare qualification or equivalent and any experience in healthcare.
Ambitious healthcare assistants will continue their training and complete specialised training in the area of care they work in, with this training combined with your experience you will become a Senior Healthcare Assistant.
If you are prepared for medium to long-term study, you could then begin your studies to become a nurse.
In general, the position of senior healthcare assistant is likely as far as you will go unless you complete additional qualifications.