Healthcare Assistant Academy
As one of the leading teaching hospitals in England, the Newcastle Hospitals is committed to providing exceptional standards of education and training, and ensuring that all learning opportunities for our staff are focused around placing the patient at the heart of everything we do, whatever their role.
For Health Care Assistants (HCAs), the Trust runs the HCA Academy which offers a comprehensive, two week induction programme for newly appointed HCAs. The programme introduces them to the vision and values of the Newcastle Hospitals, and allows them to fully explore their role, with the opportunity to develop and practice their new skills and knowledge in a classroom and safe, three patient bed area with a life-sized mannequin and many items of clinical equipment they will see or use in their working environment, before working in one of the Trust’s clinical areas.
National Care Certificate standards
By the end of the probationary period, each new HCA will be expected to demonstrate that they have achieved the National Care Certificate standards, both in knowledge and clinical practice. This is in line with recent national recommendations outlined in the Cavendish Review (2013), which followed the Francis Inquiry Report (2012).
The recommendation in the Cavendish Review of supporting the learning and development of non-registered care staff has now been implemented, with the launch of the National Care Certificate in April 2015. During the HCA two week programme sessions include:
| Harm-free care
|| End-of-life care|
| Customer service and teamwork
|| Privacy, dignity and respect|
| Clinical supervision
|| Nutrition and hydration|
| Healthcare Assistant Code of Conduct
|| Record keeping |
| Infection prevention and control
|| National Early Warning Score (NEWS) and recording observations|
| Personal care
|| Reflective Practice and personal development |
| Anatomy and physiology
|| Sensory impairment |
| Bladder and bowel care
|| Pain management |
| Equality and diversity
After attending the Academy, the HCAs continue their development during a six month probationary period during which time if they are new to care HCAs complete the National Care Certificate (demonstrating knowledge and clinical skills) or if they have previous care experience, HCAs will complete a single knowledge pack and the observational assessments. This provides the HCA with the knowledge and skills to support their practice and provides the Trust with assurances that the HCAs have met the minimum levels required in terms of knowledge and the ability to deliver safe and compassionate care that meets the needs of patient and their families.
Healthcare at its very best - with a personal touch
Helen Lamont, Nursing & Patient Services Director for the Newcastle Hospitals explains the importance of Newcastle’s HCA Academy: “Health Care Assistants perform extremely important roles in our clinical areas providing one to one care for patients – bathing, turning, feeding, and much more. They spend much of their time at the patient’s bedside and so it is essential that they understand each patient’s needs, and how to meet those needs by providing the highest standards of compassionate care.
"The Academy ensures that we recruit the finest candidates, train them to recognise the organisations’ values, behavioural and professional expectations in everything that they do, and provide support to help them develop their vocational aspirations.”
We know from feedback that HCAs now feel more confident when going into the clinical area because of the knowledge and practical skills gained at the Academy such as taking observations, applying anti-embolism stockings and taking blood glucose. Feedback has included:
“I have learned a lot regarding taking patients’ obs, dementia, tissue viability, end of life. The whole training course has been invaluable.”
“I found the academy useful and a great way to introduce people into the trust, with background information and what is expected of us as HCAs. And also that we now know ward sisters won’t expect us to do things straight away.”
“I will support patients the best that I can and make sure I will apply what I have learnt, by knowing and applying the 6Cs.”
The HCA Academy
The HCA Academy is based at the Trust’s Cragside Education Centre located on the Campus for Ageing and Vitality (CAV). This purpose-built training facility is designed to provide first-class training for all members of frontline staff, with the universal focus of placing patients at the heart of everything that they do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find out about Health Care Assistant (HCA) jobs in the NHS?Show [+]Hide [-]
Does the Newcastle Hospitals offer apprenticeships?Show [+]Hide [-]
Not at the moment. Our apprenticeship programme is being launched from 1st April 2016.
Our apprentices will be recruited to fill actual vacancies, so all those who successfully complete the programme will be guaranteed employment with the Trust.
Most of our apprenticeships will be at Intermediate level, and will last for one year. GCSE English and Maths at Grades A* to C will be the entry requirement.
Apprenticeship posts will be advertised on NHS Jobs and the Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service websites.
What are the essential requirements for a Health Care Assistant post? Show [+]Hide [-]
At the Newcastle Hospitals, the essential requirements are:
• NVQ level 2 in appropriate subject (or on pathway) or equivalent qualification/experience
• Good literacy and numeracy skills
• Ability to communicate with members of the public and health care providers
• Presents self as courteous, respectful and helpful
• Ability to work effectively under direct supervision, as part of the multi-disciplinary team
Where are the vacancies advertised? Show [+]Hide [-]
Can I be notified when vacancies come up?Show [+]Hide [-]
I have other commitments but want to gain hospital experience as a Health Care Assistant, can I do this?Show [+]Hide [-]
We have some part time roles, a Staff Bank and volunteering opportunities. Work on the staff bank enables staff to work on a variety of wards when the ward requires additional support. Staff Bank vacancies are advertised on NHS jobs.
Find out more about volunteering opportunities here.
Do I have to work as a Health Care Assistant on the Staff Bank to get a permanent HCA post?Show [+]Hide [-]
No, however recent experience working in care would be advantageous.
Is there any training available? Show [+]Hide [-]
Once you are appointed to a HCA role at the Newcastle Hospitals, there will be a period of induction this will include the HCA Academy (providing you with the knowledge and skills to effectively deliver patient care), Corporate Trust Induction, and a local induction to your clinical area.
If I am invited for interview but cannot come on that day; can I be given another interview date?Show [+]Hide [-]
No, these are generic interviews and are only arranged for set dates. If you are unable to attend you will have to re-apply.
Is there someone I can contact for more information?Show [+]Hide [-]