the other day with some terrific Health Care Assistants and Nursing Assistants,
as they are called in the UK. Health Care Assistants are support workers who
have undertaken a competency-based programme (similar to the CNA in the US)
while Nursing Assistants have not. Whilst HCAs and NAs are not classed as nurses
in the UK, they still perform what I classify as 'nursing activities'. They take
patient observations and do blood glucose testing and urine testing. If they
complete specialised training they are able to perform higher level activities
such as venepuncture and performing ECGs.
Nursing Assistants also
work in Care Homes or in the homes of the elderly where they are generally
referred to as 'carers'. In the UK, as in many other English-speaking countries,
there are large numbers of overseas workers who work as carers and nursing
assistants. At times, communication in the workplace is difficult as carers
often look after the elderly who may be hard of hearing or suffer from dementia.
HCAs who work in
hospitals work under the direct supervision of an RN. This means that any
changes in patient condition, for instance abnormal vital signs, must be
reported immediately to the RN on duty. RNs may also ask HCAs to perform a
patient activity and then report the results. For example, 'Can you take Mr
Smith's BP and let me know what it's doing?'.
I felt that there was a
need for an EMP book aimed at the HCA / Certified Nursing Assistant as this
group is an ever-growing group which are relied on to provide nursing care in
our hospitals, despite the label of 'support worker'. Training is often
'on-the-job' with little time to revise the language used during the activities.
I have almost completed
the next self-published 'English for Medical Purposes: Health Care Assistants'
and look forward to feedback from followers of my blog. I would love to hear
from teaching and nursing colleagues. Any thoughts about language support for
this group of healthcare workers?