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“There are constantly opportunities here and encouragement from other members of staff. I’ve been at UHCW for almost 11 years and I couldn’t think of working anywhere else.”

Throughout January we’ve been shining a spotlight on some of our compassionate Healthcare Assistants at UHCW across our social media channels. During this time colleagues across the Trust have stepped forward to tell us their stories.

As part of this we spoke to Recruitment and Flexible Workforce Lead Nurse Claire and learnt about her journey into healthcare.

 

How did your career in healthcare begin?

My career started when I became a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) at Coventry Warwickshire and Partnership NHS Trust, supporting people with mental health disorders through their acute episodes and rehabilitation.

I was interested in caring for people with mental health issues and I enjoyed the interaction with the patients and got to know them on an Individual level.

The role helped me understand and learn more about the different conditions that patients can have and how best to care for them.

After 16 months in the role, I was encouraged to apply for general nurse training and started a three year Adult Nursing Diploma at University.

I completed my placements as a Student Nurse at UHCW NHS Trust and started a permanent position in 2011 when I qualified as a registered Adult Nurse.

 

Talk us through your career journey and the experience you have gained since joining UHCW?

During my time as an Adult Nurse I worked on a variety of wards including the observation ward, Trauma and Orthopaedics and the Major Trauma Enhanced Care Unit where I cared for patients who had suffered serious injury.

I then went on to become a Clinical Sister on the Cardiothoracic ward and provided care to patients who had undergone heart and lung surgery, before returning to Trauma and Orthopaedics as a Clinical Education Lead Nurse a few years later – a role in which I was responsible for training and supporting our nurses and HCAs.

I am now on secondment as a Recruitment and Flexible Workforce Lead Nurse.

 

What does your current role involve?

I help recruit and retain new HCAs joining the Trust. This involves shortlisting and interviewing potential candidates and identifying if they are the right fit for the role. I communicate regularly with Ward Managers and Modern Matrons across all specialities and help them to fill any vacancies they have.

I also support our international colleagues working as HCA’s to gain the qualifications they need to become registered nurses.

 

What have you learnt throughout your career at UHCW?

I’ve learnt to grab every opportunity that comes my way with both hands and to always support other colleagues to progress in their careers too.

It feels like I’ve come full circle to now be recruiting and interviewing new HCA’s but it helps me remember where I started and take on board how they are feeling.

When you’re brand new to a role, it can be nerve-wracking to share any fears or worries you may have, so as a Nurse I always aim to put myself in that person’s shoes and be accommodating and encouraging.

 

From a nursing perspective, how valuable are Healthcare Assistants?

HCA’s are such a vital, valued part of nursing teams and there are always opportunities for individuals to learn, develop and progress.

They are there for the patients and are put in a position of trust to be the patients advocate, getting to know them and acting as the eyes and ears of the nurses …. I wouldn’t be able to do my job as Registered Nurse without them.

 

What advice would you give to new Healthcare Assistants joining the Trust?

When working in healthcare you’re learning every single day, I still learn things all the time, – so my advice to new starters is to never be afraid to ask questions.

I never imagined when I was a Healthcare Assistant that I’d become a Nurse and I’m so happy that my time as a HCA provided the essential building blocks I needed to progress.

 

Would you recommend University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust to others?

I would recommend the Trust because there are constantly opportunities here and encouragement from other members of staff.

I’ve been at UHCW for almost 11 years and I couldn’t think of working anywhere else.


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