Patient care assistant

Also known as:

  • Wardsperson

What they do

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.

Working conditions

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.

Tools and technologies

Patient care assistants can be required to use a range of tools and technologies including: equipment to transport patients, lifting aids, cleaning equipment.

How do I become one?

Education and training

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, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. 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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