1 June 2023

Celebrating our new to care health care support workers

Yetunde Lawal-Adeyemi, Clinical Educator, tells us about her role and the recent celebration event held for the New To Care Health Care Support Workers (HCSW).

Celebrating our new to Care Health Care Support Workers

Staff at the New To Care Health Care Support Worker celebratory event

“I have been in this role for 12 amazing months after first joining the trust in March 2021,” says Yetunde. “I enjoy everything about the role! Teaching, meeting new people, providing clinical support in practice, a bit of pastoral support here and there, and helping individuals that were brave enough to leave their previous profession to come into healthcare to navigate their way and feel welcome.”

Yetunde wears many hats in her role, but one of the areas she looks after is the New to Care programme. The programme is an initiative developed by NHS England to recruit people wishing to start a career in the NHS from outside health and social care sectors. It encourages people at all stages of their working lives, who have transferable skills and experiences, to apply for HCSW roles. (NHS England, 2021)

We recruit New To Care Health Care Support Workers from all backgrounds, and have them on an enhanced induction bootcamp that lasts for one week. The HCSWs also get extended supernumerary period that ranges from three to six weeks depending on the acuity of the area/unit they are in and how well they are getting on. They also get extensive clinical and pastoral support from Yetunde and her colleagues. The overall aim is to reduce our vacancy rate in a bid to improve staffing levels. This impacts positively on patient safety and the quality of care we can offer to our patients and service users.

“Our HCSWs have been brilliant,” continues Yetunde. “They are doing so well and are quite proactive. Some of them have become dementia care champions or link nurses for nursing specialties. One of our HCSWs, Glyn, won the trusts’ Hero of the Month award recently and many have won the ‘star of the month’ award in their various areas. Four of our HCSWs have gone on to pursue a nursing degree and we have quite a number that are working towards the training nurse associate apprenticeship programme.”

Recently, a celebration event was held for the New To Care HCSWs that were recruited between February and July 2022 at the lecture theatre at Conquest Hospital.

“As part of the celebration, Sarah-Jane Collard, Wellbeing and Health Promotion Lead, delivered a relaxing session on self-care and wellness,” explains Yetunde. “Our Chief Nurse, Vikki Carruth, was also in attendance to share words of encouragement and hand out wellbeing packs. Annette Farrell, the Healthcare Support Worker Recruitment and Retention Lead for NHS South East Region made a presentation about the NHSE HCSW program, highlighting the fact that the wellbeing and development of HCSWs are been discussed even at the national level. Annette talked about career possibilities and progression for HCSW in the NHS; values and recognition (the Chief Nursing Officer awards for HCSWs); and the NHS England Southeast HCSW Forum (facilitated by the southeast HCSW Fellows and attended by HCSWs only).

“Sabelo Mapasure, Head of Knowledge and Library Services, gave a short talk about the service and how the HCSWs can benefit from it. Our HCSWs were able to register with the library, access online resources including clinicalskills.net and put their names down to receive tailored content from the British Journal of Healthcare Assistants.

“Donna Hubbart, a newly registered nursing associate (RNA) currently working on Egerton Ward, shared her experience transitioning from a Healthcare Assistant to a RNA, and we invited Trade Unions to come and exhibit, so that HCSWs can make an informed decision if they plan to join a Trade Union.”

Yetunde is a part of a team of seven educators and facilitators, all leading on different remits, from the care certificate to pastoral support.

“We all work together and we are all approachable,” she says. “We will try our level best to answer your queries, and anything we can’t answer we will escalate to someone who does. I do my best to be visible in the wards and visit them frequently. You can also send queries or feedback on anything to esht.carecertificate@nhs.net, esht.hcasupport@nhs.net and esht.undergraduateeducation@nhs.net.”

Learn more about the NHS England Healthcare support worker programme.