@Anonymous | 28-Aug-2012 11:45 am, I'm quite sure the previous poster wasn't referring to the age of the patients, but to the 70 extra people per day finding their way into the A&E department that would previously been seen at the WIC.
mike | 23-Jun-2010 10:03 am
I totally agree, the practice on my ward is unsafe, and although it pains me to say it, so is mine. But unfortunately it is near on impossible for me to refuse to do anything but my basic role. If a HCA is not on a particular shift, then the observations don't get done, as the RN's are too busy doing all of the higher level tasks. The arguement could be made that observations are part of their role, so they should do them, whatever the work load, but there are simply too many demands on their time. So it always falls to the HCA to do the observations. As for dressing changes, when I'm rota'd in for the dressing clinic, if I refused to do dressing changes I'd be hauled infront of my manager for refusing to give care. I really can't win. I did recently start to refuse to do neuro observations though, as there is too much at risk if I carried them out incorrectly.
I'd agree in principle that bands 3 and 4 are paid at a higher rate because they do higher clinical tasks, but on my ward they do not. They aren't actually trained to do anything more than a band 2 does. I think we should all be paid on the same band, and all be trained the same.
I think in general, most HCA's are crying out for training. It's not that we don't want to learn, or to be accountable, and have more responisibilty, we are simply not allowed to do so. I personally believe it's extremely unfair to the RN's that they should be responsible for the actions of undertrained HCA's who are pretty much operating unsupervised for the vast majority of the time. This is something that needs to change, urgently. However, it won't while Hospitals are operated as businesses. It'll take something tragic to sort it out.
I'm a HCA, and I have read through these comments with interest. I'm paid on Band 2, I perform direct bedside care, observations(including neuro), dressings (including application of NPT). I rotate through a minor operations theatre, in which I act as the circulating person, and through a 'Nurse Led' dressings clinic (which most days is staffed by 2 Band 3 HCA's). I believe I work really hard for my wage, I do resent the insinuation by some previous posters that we are all lazy and incompetent. I never undertake a task I am not competent to do, and I always report back to an RGN.
My bugbear is that on my ward, a Band 3 or 4 HCA has no additional responsibilities to a Band 2. They are not trained to carry out any additional clinical tasks, so why should someone doing the same job as me be paid 2 bands higher? Of course it's all cost cutting, and I do find myself resentful sometimes that our HCA's are pushed to do more and more tasks that are part of an RGN's skillset without the additional pay, or more importantly, the training.
Regarding training, I agree with the findings of the article. I have little prospect for progression or training, as I am already in posession of 11 GCSE's, 3 A-levels, and a degree (not nursing, obviously). I'm also undertaking self-funded study with the OU, in the hope of being accepted onto a nursing degree course. My trust prioritises NVQ training for workers without basic qualifications. I'm too overeducated to be trained properly for my job. I believe this is dangerous and places too much responsibility on my shoulders.
In my ideal world, HCA roles would be clearly defined, we would all be aware of what we can and can't do at each level, and we would all be registered and held accountable for our actions.