Open Colleges

Should you work as a ward assistant?

by Craig Boyle
Posted: February 14, 2019

  Return to blog home


In any healthcare environment, the ward is where the most direct and practical elements of patient care come into play. A ward is an essential part of the recovery process, but requires more than just doctors and nurses to run smoothly.

A ward assistant forms a crucial part of the healthcare process. By assisting Nurses with ward operations, you’ll be helping improve the lives of patients, reducing the overall burden on other roles and helping families whose loved ones are on the ward. You’re a core part of the team, making it the ideal role for someone who does not necessarily want to undergo the extensive training needed for a medical role but does want to work in a rewarding, patient-focused job.

What does it take to become a ward assistant?

In addition to a qualification such as a HLT33115 Certificate III in Health Services assistance, you’ll also need certain character traits that will ensure the role suits you. It’s a tough and challenging job, so requires people who are:

  • A caring attitude, which is a must when dealing with patients
  • Good communication skills to both patients and nursing staff
  • Teamwork and the ability to follow instructions. A hospital ward operates like a machine, so at times you’ll be required to simply accept instructions and follow through to ensure safety and efficiency on the ward.
  • Hard-working and able to cope with the physical labour required (cleaning, rotation of clothing and linen, transporting equipment, restraining patients in emergencies etc)

What does a ward assistant do?

Ward assistants perform the day-to-day duties that enable hospitals and healthcare facilities to function. A ward must be cleaned and well maintained to provide optimum patient comfort, so a ward assistant is tasked with duties that keep a ward running. Tasks will include:

  • Ensuring clean clothing and linen is available for patients and removing any spoiled items
  • Restocking the ward with any essential items and non-medical supplies
  • Helping with lifting, turning and transporting patients
  • Cleaning floors and equipment
  • Distributing food around the ward
  • Accompanying patients at certain points
  • Assisting in emergency situations

As a ward assistant, you will work in a shift pattern – which suits those looking for a role that is not a typical 9-5. You will be active throughout your shift, so you’ll need to be able to meet the physical demands to work in the industry.

Why work as a ward assistant?

The nursing support job industry is set to grow over the next five years, ensuring there will be job openings to take advantage of. There will be an estimated 64,000 job openings over the next 5 years, or around 12,800 per year.

Part-time and flexible work is often available in the role, making working as a ward assistant a great idea for people who can’t commit to typical hours.

Ultimately, though, the biggest and most important reason to work as a ward assistant is because you want to make a difference. Ward assistants are the backbone of the hospital environment, performing the tasks that need to be done to help patients remain comfortable and allow recovery. Without ward assistants, a healthcare facility simply could not function.

If you’d like to get involved in this role, start training towards a new career today with the HLT33115 ?Certificate III in Health Services Assistance.


Craig Boyle

Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, Craig worked for Open Colleges as a Copywriter. Craig's career passions include marketing, small business, tech, start-ups and leadership.

Interested in online study?

See what it’s like with our 7 day free course trial.

Find out first-hand what it’s like to study with Open Colleges. Experience our world-class learning platform for yourself and discover how online learning can work for you. There are no obligations and no payment details required.

Start Today

Course areas