Quiz yourself … would you make a good HCA?
Are you considering becoming a healthcare assistant? Have you got what it takes?
1. You’re at a patient’s home and it’s time to change the bed sheets. You’ve never done it before in this setting and need help. Do you:
- A. Give it a go by yourself until you’ve got it looking almost right. No one will notice the minor wrinkles.
- B. Ask your supervisor to teach you the process and then do it by yourself in the next bedroom.
- C. Do it the same way you’ve made beds in the past.
- D. Make the bed in a lackluster fashion and leave it how it is until your supervisor calls you up on it.
2. It’s 3 am in A&E and your all-day shift is coming to a close. Suddenly, a flood of patients come in and the ward is now understaffed. How do you respond?
- A. Go home. This is the end of your shift, the hospital is experienced enough to know to plan for situations like these.
- B. Stay and help until control has been regained and all patients are checked in and accounted for. You know hours are never regular in this profession.
- C. Take a nap for a couple of hours and then help out as the rush dies down. You’ve worked enough graveyard shifts to know you can’t make it through without a nap.
- D. Ask your coworkers what they’re doing and stay until one of them decides to leave.
3. It’s a slow day at the nursing home. You’ve helped feed and toilet all your patients and now they’re resting. Your next move is:
- A. Freedom! Head to the back for a much-deserved break and snack.
- B. Pop your head into the rooms and ask if there is anything you can do for the patient. You never know when someone might have an urge to use the toilet or need help getting comfortable.
- C. You know from experience this is the only time you’ll get to finish the paperwork you’re backlogged from this morning, so you do that.
- D. Aimlessly walk around and bug others wondering what they’re up to until your supervisor asks if you can help her with something.
4. A patient has had an accident on his clothes despite you clearly explaining where the bedpan is next to his bed. Do you:
- A. Clean it up but sternly advise him on how to use the bedpan so this doesn’t happen again.
- B. Clean it up and check on him more often to make sure it’s not a sign of worsening illness. Let him know he can always ring you if he thinks something like this could happen, no problem.
- C. Clean it up and bring him over to the toilet and wait for a while. Things like this never just happen once.
- D. Clean it up and leave for your next task.
5. A patient you’ve been helping this past year passes away suddenly on your day off. How do you respond?
- A. Show up because you feel you have to but get sent home after half a day because you are so distressed.
- B. Call your supervisor. You both agree to let you take a day off because you don’t feel your best, even though this is a routine part of the job.
- C. Show up for work the next day even though your head is clearly not in it and you get nothing done all day.
- D. Don’t show up. How could you be expected to come in after something as tragic as this?
How you answered…
Mostly As: Stuck in your ways
You’re on the right track, but you are a little inflexible. You like to do things your way, which isn’t a bad thing in some situations, but it might help to listen to others and sometimes ask for help. Your people skills are strong and HCAs often talk to a wide range of people on the job.
- TRY: It could be helpful to try and take notice of how you feel next time you’re asked to do something or complete a task. Making an effort to listen and being open to communication will improve your flexibility and help you to complete any task effectively.
Mostly Bs: You’ve got what it takes
You’ve got the right makeup to be an HCA: You work well with others, have excellent communications skills and you’re extremely self-motivated. You have enough experience to know what to do in tough situations but also with routine affairs. You give advice effectively and are flexible what you’re willing to give to others.
- TRY: Do some background research on your interests and where you’d like to work. Start applying for jobs in your area when you feel you’ve educated yourself on the profession.
Mostly Cs: You like your routine.
You’ve worked in the health care or nursing field before, and it interests you. Great! You easily qualify to be an HCA. But remember that nursing is always changing and evolving, and how you’ve done it before is not how it can always be best done.
- TRY: Don’t be ashamed to ask for help or advise on how to do things that feel routine. Apply for an HCA position with the willingness to learn new ways of doing things.
Mostly Ds: You need to work on communication
Communication is an important skill for a healthcare assistant. HCAs that count communication as a strength are often the most successful. Don’t wait for people to come to you, ask for help! But remember, your coworkers may not be the best source either, so always double check with your supervisor.
- TRY: Practice all the time. Train in active listening with your current colleagues and friends. Or you could shadow someone who you think is a really good communicator until you think you’ve mastered the skill.
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