Image: Staff.“I have been on this ward, in this job for five years now. I have learnt so much in this time. We have to work as a team to make it the best possible experience for the patient. No-one chooses to be in hospital.

I support patients with all their personal needs, and help them, if needed, to eat or drink. I was a bit shy a first, seeing people with no clothes on, but it's about maintaining the patients’ dignity whilst respecting them and their wishes. It's about treating the patient how they want to be and not how I think they want to be looked after. We all have different likes and dislikes and different beliefs. I report back to the qualified nurses if I see any changes in the patient that is either worrying them or worrying me.

I have to be vigilant, observing what patients are doing, what they have eaten, or if they have been to the toilet. Talking to the patients, and I mean to them, makes the difference. You need to listen too. Sometimes as the healthcare support worker, the patients tell you more as they don't feel as intimidated by me, not being professionally qualified I mean. That doesn't mean I am any less important to the team or in the care of the patient.

Of course we have similar things to do every day, making beds, helping the patients with all their needs, writing down certain things that help the qualified nurses in their assessment of their patients. We have up to 33 patients to care for on a shift. We do 12 hours shifts. It can mean that I get up at 5.30 in the morning to be here for 7a.m. and I won’t get home until about 8pm at night. I work 3 of these days a week.

It’s very important to be on time, in a clean uniform with the things we need like my identification badge, different coloured pens for the charts and so on. You have to be responsible for yourself as it is part of the role. There is always something different every day. I can now do observations and a few other things after training which helps the nurses in their daily tasks.

I didn’t have to go to university to do this job and the things I can do now I have learnt here at the hospital. You do need to be good at talking to people, and making them feel at ease. This is the part of the job I love.”

For more information see www.healthcareers.nhs.uk, www.jobs.nhs.uk and www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/ or for more support worker training, see the Skills Platform