Being a Care Assistant – In Their Own Words

To help answer the question is care for me, I’ve been talking to people who have experience in being a care assistant.  Who better to ask what the role involves than people who have done or are doing the job now.

Let me introduce you to two people who are working at Risedale Care Homes. 

Ellie – Assistant Practitioner/Student Nurse

Ellie works at our nursing home on Abbey Road on a general nursing unit. She started as a care assistant, studied to become an assistant practitioner and is continuing her studies to become a registered nurse.

Jessica works at our St Lukes home on one of our behaviour that challenges units. She started as a care assistant but is now a nurse support, which is a team leader role.

Jessica – Nurse Support

I asked them some questions about being a care assistant, what they like and dislike, how their career in care started and their Risedale journey.

Claire:   Tell me about a typical day as a care assistant.

Ellie: The day starts by receiving handover.  Care assistants will then attend to resident’s needs, getting them washed, dressed and ready for the day. Shift leaders will administer any medications.  All staff will assist with serving breakfast.  Care assistants will ensure all residents are offered food and drink and that all hygiene and toileting needs are met.  Care Assistants will maintain emotional and phycological wellbeing, spend time with residents when possible and encourage them to attend social activities.  Shift leaders will liaise with families and other health care professionals as needed.

Jessica: A typical day as a care assistant consists of getting residents up and ready for the day.  This will include bathing or showering, getting clothes for them, assisting with all personal care where needed but also promoting independence.  We have activity coordinators that get the residents involved in arts and crafts etc.  You will find yourself finding out some very interesting stories and great facts from our residents.  Our residents have three meal times a day, some need assistance with meals but many don’t.  Each day is different and it’s the most rewarding job.

Claire:   Can you give me a list of jobs that care assistants do?

Ellie:  Personal care, tidying rooms, activities, toileting, putting laundry away, assisting with meals, making and offering drinks, liaising with other professionals, medication administration, family support.

Jessica: Personal care, use of hoists, assist with needs, end of life care, activities, assist with family visits, help at mealtimes, encourage independence, keep residents’ company, care.

Claire:   What did you do before you came to work at Risedale?

Ellie:  I worked in a primary school as an early year’s apprentice.  When I got the job at Risedale I was supposed to apply for university courses to start a teaching degree however I found my passion and never left.

Jessica: Prior to working for Risedale I was a restaurant supervisor at Debenhams in Barrow but was made redundant.  I’d always worked in the hospitality industry; it was my forte.

“I found my passion and never left”

Ellie – Assistant Practitioner/Student Nurse, Risedale Care Homes

Claire:   What do you like about being a care assistant?

Ellie:  Being there when someone needs you has to be the most rewarding thing about our job.  We make sure that the resident is comfortable and happy.  Providing palliative care can be difficult at times however I get comfort from knowing I did everything to keep someone comfortable.

Jessica: You have to want to care to do this job.  It’s rewarding, the most rewarding job I’ve ever done.  Ensuring the wellbeing of the residents, knowing they are comfortable and happy is the best part.

Claire:   Is there anything you dislike about being a care assistant?

Ellie:  Working in care involves working long hours, but you soon get used to it.  I think the most difficult thing is switching off after a shift, especially if you’ve had to deal with difficult circumstances.

Jessica: There isn’t anything to dislike about the job.  My only query would be the pay, care has always been an underpaid profession, what we do as care assistants I believe doesn’t warrant the pay we receive.

“There isn’t anything to dislike about the job”

Jessica – Nurse Support, Risedale Care Homes

Claire:   Tell me about your Risedale journey, how you started and where being a care assistant has taken you.

Ellie:  I previously worked at a local primary school and I was planning to apply for university.  I applied for Risedale as a temporary job over the summer, however I soon realised that this is my passion and therefore changed my plans.  I worked as a healthcare assistant and I was given the opportunity to complete an Assistant Practitioner course.  When nearly qualified I was offered the opportunity of a conversion course to become a Registered Nurse.  I am now in my third and final year of my nursing degree.  I already have many responsibilities as an AP, however I am looking forward to my new role as a nurse.  Risedale have been a great employer and have given me so many opportunities to develop.  I will always be grateful for the support and guidance.

Jessica: I applied to Risedale due to being made redundant at Debenhams.  Ultimately care is something I always wanted to do but always thought I needed a health and social care qualification which I didn’t succeed in getting.  Fast forward three weeks my interview with Claire and Adele was a success and I got the job.  Starting a new job role in something I had never done was scary but all the staff and my manager were so welcoming and helpful. Two and a half weeks into my new job I had a big family bereavement and Risedale couldn’t have been more accommodating to this, it was a massive weight off my shoulders.  I am now 14 months in and I couldn’t love my job any more than I do.  Progression is so big which is something I’m always looking to do and currently taking on the nurse support job role.  I’m also redoing my Maths and English which Risedale are funding.  Becoming a mental health nurse is my goal and it’s achievable with Risedale.

I’d like to thank Ellie and Jessica for taking the time to answer my questions, it has given a great insight into what a care assistant does on a daily basis. It’s also given me an idea of how a care assistant feels and their thoughts on the amazing role they do, not to mention the important part they play in the wellbeing of our residents.

Is care for me? As amazing and rewarding as it sounds, I’m still not sure!

Is care for you? Let me know.