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health care assistant interview help

Discussion in 'Personal Statements and UCAS forms' started by jaynemcmanus, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. jaynemcmanus

    jaynemcmanus New Member

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    i have not been very lucky with the interviews i have had at the nhs i have nvq3 & 2 plus other certificates, i think its the interview questions are letting me down so can someone help please.
    position is hca with an interest in cardiothoracics and the intensive care environment.
     
  2. graceunderpressure

    graceunderpressure New Member

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    I can't remember what I got asked at my interviews now... Hmm... Erm I got asked what I would do if I encountered a situation where money was being wasted on stuff the trust didn't need etc. I think I said I would inform the ward manager and tell them how I would change it to save money. I also got asked what I would do if I found faulty equipment. I said I would first of all make sure no one used the equipment so inform other HCAs and nurses of fault, put a notice on equipment then I would report the fault to estates/ward manager etc. I also got asked what equality and diversity meant so giving all staff and patients the same treatment no matter what their backgrounds are, ethnicity, class etc. I was asked in both HCA interviews I have had what I understand about what the position involves. So just make sure you know the job description and that.

    I hope this is helpful, if you need any other help PM me.
     
  3. jaynemcmanus

    jaynemcmanus New Member

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    thanks for the reply im sure you will get pm of me very soon i have put in another application at another hospital as well edoscopy unit. :(
     
  4. Dr Noodle

    Dr Noodle New Member

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    Huh?

    I don't know about the UK but as a care assistant here in Ireland you aren't allowed to wash post op CT patients. You can only special them if they are confused after their surgery, help the nurses change pads, make up the teddy bears (towel and pillow case) that they hold to their chest when coughing and help them eat if they're feeling weak.

    You do even less in ICU and the patient to nurse ratio tends to be very small (ideally one to one) which means the nurses help each other with washes and the care attendant just stocks and cleans.

    I'm sorry I really don't mean to sound patronising but perhaps a better understanding of the job will lead you to do better at interviews.

    One question I remember from mine was 'if a patient tells you they are an alcoholic and/or addicted to hard drugs, what would you do?'. I have to admit that stumped me but if someone does say that to you, or asks to confide in you, you have to let them know that you have to report things of this nature to the nurses.
     
  5. Varied A

    Varied A New Member

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    My experience of ICU in the UK is that the HCA's job is mostly restocking equipment at the bedsides and acting as a runner to get equipment, staff etc., occasionally helping in log rolls and bed-bed transfers.

    I love ICU as a nurse, but as a HCA I think I'd be a bit bored, because there isn't a great deal of hands-on contact of the kind you'd get on a ward, and certainly there's absolutely no chance whatsoever that you'll ever be left alone anywhere near a patient or get to do anything off your own bat - bed baths are like a millitary exercise usually involving several staff, and the very most you would be expected to do is probably help to hold someone on their side whilst someone else washes.

    If it's an "acute environment" you're looking for, rather than a general ward, perhaps because you're wanting to have experience with seriously ill patients, or pick up skills like recording ECGs and taking bloods which you want to try out for your future medical career, you could try admissions units or A&E. Another thing you might want to try is agency/bank working so you can try out a few different places and see how you like it.
     
  6. Dr Noodle

    Dr Noodle New Member

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    (!!) Even nurses aren't allowed to do that here (although they're trained to)! :eek:

    Do carers train on the job there or do you have to do a course first?
     
  7. Varied A

    Varied A New Member

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    There's a load of crap wherever you work about what nurses are and aren't allowed to do. The bad ones use it as an excuse to hide behind, the good ones just get on with what they need to do. The fact is, that if you have a patient who develops a sudden tachycardia or irregular pulse or chest pain, then you need an ECG, and if you're going to wait for a tech or a doctor to come and do it you have to take the chance that the patient will either have reverted to a normal rhythm (hence you missing the opportunity to get a look at it), or deteriorated severely by teh time that happens. It really is quite important that an RN is able to take an ECG and have a reasonable stab at interpreting it.

    In areas where this is a common occurence such as A&E/assessment units, the actual act of recording the ECG is often delegated to the HCAs, after appropriate training.

    As for other training for HCAs - most training is on the job, but those working long-term are usually sent to do an NVQ level 3, which involves the odd day in college, being supervised/taught on the wards and filling in reams of paperwork as evidence of what you can and can't do!
     
  8. Dr Noodle

    Dr Noodle New Member

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    It isn't 'a load of crap'. My mum worked in intensive care and was told she wasn't allowed. She kicked up such a huge fuss about it that several meetings were held and they had to let her go ahead because of course they didn't have any logical reason for it not to be.

    She lets the nurses do it on her ward now and she's had them all take the cannulation course. It's utterly ridiculous that nurses learn how to do all these things on a four year degree and are then told they aren't allowed to do them.

    You guys think you have it bad there you should see how much worse it is here. The health service is an utter shambles and the staff are treated like crap.
     
  9. graceunderpressure

    graceunderpressure New Member

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    HCAs can definatly do ECGs, I can and I haven't had formal training.
     
  10. laurajb

    laurajb New Member

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    Hi, I work on a respiratory ward as a H.C.A. Have only been there for five months. I am allowed to set up an E.C.G. As previously said you will only have to wait for doctor to turn up to be asked to do it anyway. The nurses on the ward are fantastic at teaching. There is always something new to learn. The ward can be quite heavy going sometimes.

    Death was difficult to deal with at first but most of the patients are brilliant. I think what I am trying to say is dont rule out the obvious. You can always transfer to another part of the hospital if a position becomes available. Learn the basics then try for something that interests you more.

    One thing I forgot to mention at my interview, the word care. Can you believe it. Just be honest there must be a reason why you want to be there in the first place. You want to work in a hospital enviroment and take care of people.

    hope this is of some help.
     
  11. Jhesam

    Jhesam New Member

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    Haha, thats a really good point actually laura. I never even mentioned care or 'caring personality' in the 'What would you bring to the job?' question. I did manage to avoid saying 'I wipe arses SUPER WELL!' too though so that probably evened out karmically or some such. Still managed to scab a nice job in Cardiology anyway. Just waiting for the CRB check so hoping to start sometime around 2010.
     
  12. babble

    babble New Member

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    If you want good experience without being thrown in completely at the deep end, then I can recommend EAU/MAU/CAU what ever your hospital calls it. As an HCA I can do a lot more than the HCAs in many other wards in the hospital purely because we are a really busy acute ward and often the nurses have other things to be doing. So if an ECG needs doing, or bloods need taking, or a patient hooking up to a cardiac monitor/telemetry then we can do that. It's been a fantastic learning experience and the team are great to work with. There's no room for slackers on such a busy ward and the Sisters are really good about getting the HCAs trained up.

    They did ask me in the interview if I knew what the job entailed and how I plan to cope with the difficulties that working in an acute ward would inevitably pose (deaths & laying out/stress/emotional distress/abusive patients etc) and it's important that you are able to take time for yourself and put a bit of distance between you and some of the stuff you'll see. Read up on the job description. At the end of the day, it's not a glamorous job and I would think that they will be looking for an intelligent, adaptable person who is not going to be precious about getting their hands dirty.
    I'm sure you'll do really well!
     
  13. Dr Noodle

    Dr Noodle New Member

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    Or your shoes :p

    I think learning to deal with the difficulties comes automatically with time. I used to get really upset when I'd heard someone had died. But yesterday morning a patient died who looked fine when I delivered him his post the day before. All I thought when I heard was 'that's weird' and got on with I was doing.
     
  14. graceunderpressure

    graceunderpressure New Member

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    One of the HCAs I work with calls our ward "God's waiting room" because so many patients come to us to die. I think I'm used to it all now. We all have to go sometime and all that jazz!
     
  15. laurajb

    laurajb New Member

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    you never get used to it though, you just sort of develop an acceptance, does that make sense. i was a complete wreck my first month or two. Now well like I said you just accept it.
     

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