HCA apprentices make “huge contribution” during Covid-19 pandemic
There are currently 42 apprentices on fixed term contracts within the trust completing health care qualifications.
The youngest is Rosie Warland who joined in February just as the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK was about to begin. Due to the timing, Rosie’s group at Chichester College were soon put on a ‘break in learning’ but her placement soon made up for this.
Apprenticeships lead, Jo Hauffe, said: “Joining the trust has been a steep learning curve – not only has she had to learn the skills of being an HCA, she’s also had to learn the difficult skills associated with caring for acutely unwell Covid-19 patients. Rosie is pleased the “support has been great.”
Rosie said: “It was difficult switching from an elderly medicine ward to an acute medical because of my lack of knowledge and experience but there were lots of new opportunities for me to learn and observe and I had another great team to work with.”
Michelle Smith began her HCA apprenticeship in June last year and has been working with the Lavant ward team. She said: “The ward staff and senior staff have been so supportive of everyone, as well as trying to look after themselves and their families. The whole ward has really pulled together and are working incredibly hard.
there were lots of new opportunities for me to learn and observe
“The senior staff have been keeping everyone updated with the change of situation as much as they can, and the issues with PPE have changed so rapidly that it has been really helpful to know what is going on. It has been very distressing for patients to not have visits from friends and family.
“Despite them having Facetimes and phone calls, most patients miss the face to face physical contact with relatives. We have had to spend a lot more time sitting and socialising with patients which has been a challenge, as there are so many patients that need your time and attention, it becomes a balancing act. “We are all trying as hard as we can to support the patients as best we can during this time.”
Medical matron, Jackie Dominck, agreed, saying: “All of our healthcare assistant apprentices work extremely hard, and they are all valuable members of the ward teams and have helped keep the ward staffing levels up during this time. I think it’s great that they have the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship in our trust and have the opportunity to start their NHS careers. Thank you to all of them for their continued hard work.”