Have you ever considered a career in the healthcare sector?
As one of Australia’s fastest growing industries, a career in healthcare can provide stability in terms of employment, while also giving you enormous job satisfaction.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the healthcare and social assistance sectors employ approximately 14.2% of the entire country’s population – or about 1,731,900 people.¹ Over the past five years, employment has increased by 17%.
But the healthcare sector is much more expansive than you might first think. The word “healthcare” might immediately conjure images of Nurses and Doctors in a hospital setting – but start thinking outside the box and you’ll realise that there are many other job opportunities in healthcare besides these roles. And some jobs are within grasp without a costly university degree.
In an expanding and stable industry like this, where could your career in healthcare take you?
What is a Health Services Assistant?
If you’ve thought about working in healthcare, a great place to start is as a Health Services Assistant.
A Health Services Assistant is someone who works under the supervision of a medical professional, such as a Nurse or a Doctor. This could be in a hospital, a private surgery or centre, or a community facility. There are varying levels of specialities that you could focus on, depending on your interests or the career path you’re set on pursuing.
What kind of jobs are there for Health Services Assistants?
Patient Services Assistant
Working in a hospital under the supervision of the nursing staff, your duties as a Patient Services Assistant could include patient transport between wards, providing patient meals, assisting with administration duties (such as patient discharge), and general cleaning duties to ensure facilities are sterile. You could also find work in an aged care facility, as opposed to a hospital.
If you have great communication skills and want to follow a career path where you can make a difference in peoples’ lives, this could be a great career choice for you.
As a Theatre Orderly, you will be responsible for transporting patients to and from the operating theatre for surgery, ensuring that the theatre is set up correctly as well as being properly cleaned, that all equipment is sterilised, while also providing support to the different wards.
This is the kind of role that would suit someone who is interested in working in healthcare and has a keen eye for detail, as well as fantastic people skills. Remember, you’ll be helping prep people for surgery, which means they might be anxious or frightened. So you will need to have a calming, friendly, positive demeanour that can help put patients at ease.
As a Nursing Assistant, you will report to a Registered Nurse and will help patients with daily activities, such as personal hygiene, helping patients eat, checking vital signs, and relaying any necessary information about patient health to the nursing staff.
To be a great Nursing Assistant, you will need to work well under pressure while still maintaining total professionalism. You will also need to be able to listen to instructions and work effectively as part of a team.
What kind of skills do you need to be a Health Services Assistant?
The above jobs involve different kinds of daily tasks, and you could find yourself working in a public or private hospital, in a community facility, or an aged care centre. However, the one thing they all share in common is that they require a similar set of skills.
To follow a successful career as a Health Services Assistant, you’ll need to have:
- great communication skills, as you’ll be required to follow instructions from medical staff and also listen to patient needs and wants;
- a keen eye for detail, to ensure that areas and equipment are always properly cleaned and sterilised;
- patience and empathy, as you deal with patients who are suffering from a range of different medical conditions that affect them all in different ways; and
- a positive, can-do attitude, as you’ll be working in part of a high-pressure team environment.
In addition to these personality traits, there are a range of practical skills you will also need to bring to your role.
Open Colleges offers the HLT33115 Certificate III in Health Services Assistance, which can teach you the skills and knowledge you need to begin a career as a Health Services Assistant.
During the course, you’ll cover all the basics, such as how the human body works, how to recognise healthy body systems, medical terminology you’ll encounter in your day-to-day, how to provide a safe and sterile environment for patients, and how to work within a team of health professionals.
Also included in this course is 120 hours of work placement, so you can gain first-hand experience and put your knowledge into practice.
If beginning your career in health as a Health Services Assistant sounds like the perfect career path for you, then take a look at our Certificate III in Health Services Assistance course page to find out more.
Source: *1. Australian Government Labour Market Information Portal. ‘Health Care and Social Assistance’. https://lmip.gov.au/