Healthcare Support Worker Development

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Available HCSWD Programmes

Understanding the Healthcare Support Worker Role

Healthcare Support Workers (HCSWs) are a vital part of the clinical workforce, supporting multiple healthcare areas, both within hospitals and out in the community. They spend time with patients, including supporting personal care, and learn how to undertake technical tasks such as taking a patient’s temperature.

We support our NHS Trusts by providing training programmes for a range of HCSWs, including Acute, Mental Health, Community, Paediatrics and Patient Safety. These are all conducted under the supervision and guidance of Registered Nurses.

Note HCSWs are sometimes referred to as Healthcare Assistants, Care Assistants, Support Workers and a range of other names.

Explore HCSW areas below:

Acute Healthcare Support Workers are important in helping patients in hospital, providing care to patients with a variety of ailments.

Through our development programme, trainees learn how to provide compassionate, safe, and effective care in a range of acute settings. This includes safeguarding, communication, as well as how to help patients with social and physical activities, personal care, mobility, etc. HCSWs may also take patients observations, including temperature, pulse, respiration and weight.


The Patient Safety Support Worker (PSSW) role is crucial in ensuring both quality and safety in the clinical setting for vulnerable patients including those with challenging behaviours, dementia or at high risk of falls. PSSWs are also able to work as Healthcare Support Workers in other areas.

Patient Safety Support Workers support the multidisciplinary team in the clinical environment by providing quality care such as communication and distraction techniques, as well as reminiscence therapies with patients.

Examples of wards where PSSWs work include elderly care, adults with dementia, adult and older adult mental health.

Mental Health Support Workers practice in mental health wards, providing therapeutic communication and quality care.

In preparation for their role, our trainees learn how to approach difficult situations, recognise and understand a variety of mental health conditions and how to work in a multidisciplinary team to support patients needs. Self-care and reflective practice are an important element in this programme.

Community Healthcare Support Workers support patients and their carers in the community, either in the patients’ home or their care setting.

During our Healthcare Support Worker development programme for community, trainees learn a variety of healthcare skills in a community setting. These include supporting nutritional needs, moving and mobilising at home, communication and mental health.

Paediatric Healthcare Support Workers are vital in ensuring that children and young people receive safe, individualised, and effective standards of care.

For this role, trainees learn how to provide compassionate, safe, and effective care in a range of settings. This will include ensuring the comfort and consideration of the child or young person as well as providing holistic care to the family / carers with kindness and empathy to all concerned.

Examples of wards where Paediatric HCSWs work include Neonatal, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Oncology, Critical Care, Cardiac, as well as general wards and surgery.

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