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Celebrating Nursing Support Workers' Day with Rebecca Watkins, Health Care Assistant

Rebecca Watkins 23 Nov 2023

Rebecca Watkins, a Health Care Assistant for adults with learning disabilities, discusses what being a Nursing Support Worker means to her.

How long have you been in this field?

I have been working as a healthcare assistant for adults with Learning Disabilities for about four years now. 


What inspired you to become a healthcare assistant?

My passion for caring for and helping people inspired me to become a healthcare assistant. I started working in this field while completing my undergraduate degree in health and social care policy, where I learned a lot about the healthcare system. This inspired me to apply for the job at Bohill Nursing Home, where I have learned so much in the past few years, which has helped me better understand the healthcare system. I am now a student nurse at QUB. 


Have you worked in other healthcare settings before or only in nursing homes? If your experience is limited to nursing homes, what is the reason behind it?

I have only worked in one healthcare setting, where my primary role is as a healthcare assistant in a setting with adults with learning disabilities. However, I have had the opportunity to work in other settings in my workplace, including working with adults with challenging behaviour, mental health, and acquired brain and spinal injuries. I remain working in a nursing home because I enjoy my job, and I have learned many different skills and gotten to know each resident and understand their needs and routines. Additionally, the management is very supportive of my studies, and I enjoy the team I work with.  


What does being a healthcare assistant mean to you?

Being a healthcare assistant is rewarding, and I can provide support and care to those in need. I enjoy my role as every day is different, and it's about being there for residents, listening to their concerns, and helping them with their daily activities. It's a role that requires compassion, empathy, and a genuine desire to impact people's lives positively. 


How fulfilling is the job for you?

As a healthcare assistant, I find it fulfilling to make a difference in the lives of others and provide care and support to those in need to help them get the most out of each day. 


Finally, what advice do you have for anyone who wants to join your nursing home as a healthcare assistant?

My advice for someone wanting to join a nursing home as a healthcare assistant would be to have a genuine passion for helping others, be a good listener, and always prioritise the well-being of the residents. 


What are your top tips for being a successful healthcare assistant?

To be a successful healthcare assistant, it's essential to have empathy, good communication skills, and a strong work ethic. Being attentive to the needs of residents, showing compassion, and being a good listener can make a big difference in providing quality care. Additionally, being organised, adaptable, and having a positive attitude can contribute to your success in this role. Remember to prioritise the resident's safety and continually seek opportunities for learning and growth. 


Also, what are your career plans as a healthcare assistant?

My future career plan in healthcare is to become a Registered Nurse. I have recently started the GEMS Adult Nursing program at QUB, and I am enjoying learning new skills and developing knowledge to help me become a nurse in two years. 


Lastly, if you have one wish to improve the role of healthcare assistants in nursing homes, what would it be?

If I had one wish to improve the role of healthcare assistants in nursing homes, it would be to ensure the staff receive the recognition and support they deserve for their hard work. They play a vital role in providing care and comfort to residents, and their efforts must be acknowledged and valued. Furthermore, positive media coverage sharing the excellent experiences of people living in a nursing home would promote the role and encourage people to consider this career pathway. 

Rebecca Watkins

Health Care Assistant

Page last updated - 09/01/2024