I was working in a nursing home when I had to have day surgery in hospital at the end of last year. The care I received was wonderful.

Right then I knew I wanted to be able to care for others in the way I had been cared for. So, when a role came up in day surgery, I applied. I was delighted to get the job.

I’d never worked in the field before, and it felt very different to working in a nursing home. But the welcome I received and professional support I was given ensured the transition was smooth. 

It’s a fast-paced environment, with no time to get bored. I meet new people every day and no shift ever feels the same. My work includes supporting admissions with registered nurses and making sure patients mobilise safely after surgery.  I escalate issues if there are concerns.

Our patients need a lot of support – it’s only natural to feel scared when facing surgery. I do everything I can to put them at ease. I can’t change the clinical procedures they’re facing but I can help them feel more relaxed.

Providing vital care for those in need

I’ve had the chance to work with people who really impress me since I’ve been here. Too many people think HCAs aren’t important, but we are a vital part of the team. Things simply wouldn’t work without us all working together and without our support.

I recently spent some time with a patient on the ward who told me she was “just a HCA”. I don’t think she realised I was a HCA too, but I reminded her that we are an important part of the nursing team and we provide vital care for those in need.

It’s important to talk to people about what we do and what would happen if we didn’t do it. We’re improving peoples’ lives and preventing health issues from deteriorating or developing.

Each day you make a difference to so many lives

I worked as a teacher in Romania for 13 years before I worked in health care. Much of what I learnt in that role I continue to use today as many of my skills are transferable.

In both careers it is essential to communicate clearly, show empathy, be a good listener, de-escalate complaints, treat people as individuals with respect and dignity, and make good use of your knowledge.

I’ve been working in health care in the UK for six years now and since then I’ve become more skilled and embraced the change I made. If you’ve made the choice to be a HCA – be proud of who you are and your achievements. Each day you make a difference to so many lives.

Picture of Emilia by Steve Baker 

Read next