1.1 Assistant workers in other public services
The creation of a new group of assistant workers in the public services has resulted in the restructuring of traditional occupational roles and boundaries, and in professionals delegating some of their duties to others in the workplace. Health-care assistants, for instance, now assist in patient care and ward-related duties under the supervision of a registered nurse or midwife. Their duties include:
- assisting in the provision of a high standard of care to patients, promoting their equality and dignity at all times
- assisting with patient hygiene, mobility, physical comfort, eating and drinking, while observing and reporting specific changes to the registered nurse
- providing support for patients’ family and friends
- performing and reporting clinical observations of a patient’s temperature, pulse, respiration rate, and blood pressure
- obtaining measurement of a patient’s height and weight.
Before the creation of these new roles, a registered nurse carried out such responsibilities. Now, health-care assistants give support to nurses who are released to do other tasks that assume further knowledge, qualifications and skills. When looking at the duties listed above, you may have noted the generic similarities between a health-care assistant and a teaching assistant in the kind of responsibility that is given, and in the types of workplace skills that are called on. Indeed, whether or not you have first aid qualifications or medical knowledge, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘With guidance, I could do some of those duties.’ This would suggest that teaching assistants have certain transferable skills that reach across other kinds of paraprofessional work.