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Virginia J Allum

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   Recent articles by
Virginia J Allum

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Health Support Workers in English-speaking Countries
By Virginia J Allum   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2012

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Health Support Workers have different titles around the world. Training is similar although may be of different length.


                        Health Support Workers 
What are Health Care Assistants called in different English-speaking countries?
Trained Nursing Assistants are called by various titles in different countries. All have completed a certified training course of varying lengths. Health Support Workers are under the direct supervision of Registered Nurses and generally undertake practical nursing unless they have received extended training in a particular area e.g. venepuncture.
Health Care Assistants   (HCAs)  in the UK 
Training: Diploma in Healthcare Support (Qualifications and Credit Framework QCF Level 2 and 3)  This qualification is for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and only applies to vocational qualifications
Scottish Quality and Credit Framework SQCF is different as it covers all education sectors (schools, vocational and higher education)
Training Venue example:   City Guilds
Health Care Assistants (HCAs) in the Republic of Ireland
Training: Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) Level 5 Healthcare Support
Training Venue example:   Dorset College Dublin
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) or Nurse Aides in the USA
Training: There are two ways to become a CNA. 
1. Through a community college or specialised nursing school 
2. Through a CNA training program at a nursing facility or a hospice.
Certified Nursing Assistant Certification Programs – 6 months to 1 year
There is a wide range of qualifications available, including
Certified Nursing Assistant Associates Degree – 2 years
Certified Nursing Assistant Bachelor Degree – 4 years
Certified Nursing Assistant Masters – 2 years
Certified Nursing Assistant PhD – 2 to 5 years
Training venue example:  Fort Wayne Indiana
Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) in Australia
Training: Certificate 3 in Health Services Assistance and
Certificate 3 in Aged Care  - both one year
Training venue example:  TAFE Queensland
Health Care Assistants or Kaiāwhina Tapuhi in New Zealand 
Training: Certificate in Health Care Assistance Level 4 
Training Venue example:   Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
Continuing Care Assistant (CCA)  in Canada
Training:  CCA certificate course followed by a provincial certification exam
Training venue example:    Health Association Nova Scotia
Nursing Assistants who are untrained 
In most countries, untrained nursing assistants are being phased out and replaced with trained nursing assistants as a recognition of the skills needed to ensure patient safety.are called:
  • Nursing Assistants (NA)  in the UK ,USA and NZ
  • Assistant in Nursing (AIN) in Australia
  • Unregulated Health Worker (UHW) , Personal Care Worker (PCW) or Home Support Worker (HSW) in Canada
Where do Certified Nursing Assistants work?
In hospitals -  basic nursing care, taking vital signs and assistance with ADLs
In clinics – gather information for the clinic doctor e.g. blood glucose levels in a diabetes clinic
In Nursing Homes – care of the elderly
In Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) -  e.g. rehab
In hospices – care of the terminally ill

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