If you’re interested in a career in the health care industry, a great place to start may be as a health care support worker. The key to what a health care support worker does is in the title: support. A health care support worker’s role is to work under a health care professional to assist in care. This means they will not be providing direct care like performing surgery or diagnoses, but all of their work will assist in those important tasks.

There is incredible diversity in specialization for a health care support worker, including working in surgical support, on the maternity ward, in mental health, pediatric health, or a number of other concentrations. They even work in outpatient care, traveling to nursing homes or private residences for work. The importance of a health care support worker should not be overlooked in the day-to-day operations of the medical profession.

What is a Job Description for a Health Care Support Worker? 

A job description for a health care support worker will typically include duties that differ slightly depending on the individual’s specialization. However, some common responsibilities you should be prepared for are:

  • Taking and recording vital signs and patient updates
  • Taking and storing specimens and samples
  • Assisting with day-to-day activities like meals and bathing
  • Organization of, and responsibility for, hospital supplies and equipment
  • Collaborating closely with other hospital staff for patient care
  • Provides guidance and encouragement
  • Assisting doctors and other staff

The job description for a health care support worker will also include a list of specific skills important to that particular job. Many of the most important skills for health care support works can be found below. Additionally, while not required, many health care support worker job descriptions may indicate a preference for prior work experience. However, a health care support worker is an entry-level role so it may not be required.

What are the Skills Required to be a Health Care Support Worker?

As one might guess, a health care support worker’s job is extremely important which means they also have a very valuable skillset. Administrative skills are highly important for health care support work as data collection is a large part of the job. Additionally, it’s important to be familiar with collecting patient samples and understand basic health information. That said, some other skills that are valuable when searching for or applying to health care support worker roles are:

  • Collaboration: As a support worker, you are working directly with a team of people who need to collaborate in the best interests of a patient. Having the ability to work efficiently with a team is highly important for this role.
  • Task management: Often times, a health care support worker will be juggling a multitude of tasks at once. Being able to prioritize and execute a rapidly changing list of tasks efficiently is invaluable for this role.
  • Hard-working: Being a health care support worker is not for the faint of heart. It involves long hours, intensive patient interaction, and the emotional labor of working with people who are sick or possibly dying. It is a demanding job that requires highly dedicated individuals.
  • Communication: Written communication skills are important to effectively record data, observations, and patient updates, while verbal skills are important for communicating with patients and your team.
  • Interpersonal skills: Having strong interpersonal skills is important because you will need to demonstrate compassion for patients and foster an environment for recovery.
  • Problem-solving: The role of a health care worker is dynamic, and new problems pop up on a moment’s notice. An ideal health care support worker is flexible and adaptive, and approaches work with a solutions-oriented mindset to quickly identify and solve problems.

Other desired strengths may include computer skills, specialized certifications (see below), an altruistic mindset, organization, and an understanding of basic knowledge and duties of the role.

What Does a Health Care Support Worker Do?

A health care support worker’s duties will differ based on which area they specialize in. However, one of the most common tasks is data collection: recording notes, observations, and updates to a patient’s condition. The role often also includes more general care of a patient like assisting with eating meals and personal hygiene. Some patients might also need physical or emotional support with getting around or interacting with others. These are all areas in which health care support worker would assist.

Is the Role of a Health Care Support Worker Right for You?

When assessing if any particular role is right for you, it’s first important to look at the skills and qualifications. You’ll want to assess how comfortable you are with these tasks and if they are things you’ll be excited to do every day.

For example, a job as a health care supporter worker will look different every day. Are you someone who enjoys change in your day-to-day responsibilities, or do you prefer a set routine? Additionally, a job as a health care support worker involves a lot of human interaction. Are you someone who gets energy from being around people, or do you prefer a solitary environment? Finally, a job as a health care worker is difficult. It involves the care of other humans and, at times, life-saving responsibilities. It’s important to be comfortable with the weight of these responsibilities when considering this career path.

How Can I Become a Health Care Support Worker? 

Though a health care support worker role is not an easy one, it is designated as an entry-level role, which means there are different ways you can become one. A high school diploma or GED is required to be a health care support worker. A certificate or associate degree in medical assistance can also be a good step, or even a full four-year degree. Additionally, some particular institutions may require specialized certifications such as CPR or basic life support. Like many jobs, too, continuing education may be necessary for this role.

Whatever path you choose to a job as a health care support worker, there is no doubt that it will be a demanding yet fulfilling career that will make a difference in the lives of people every day.

Search UAGC

Let us help.

Fill out this form to talk with an advisor.

Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.

Are you a member of the military?

We are currently not accepting new enrollments in the state of North Carolina.