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News: Courtney talks to us about her time spent as a Level 3 apprentice at the QMC

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.

Courtney is currently working at the Queen’s Medical Centre as a Level 3 Senior Healthcare Support Worker. After deciding that she wanted to work in healthcare at school, she decided to look into her options. The pandemic meant that most full-time courses were moving online, and Courtney was after something that would give her a lot of practical experience. After finding our healthcare apprenticeships online, she decided that becoming an apprentice was the best route forward and applied. Now she is a year into apprenticeship and enjoying her day-to-day work and weekly study.

When I saw the apprenticeship opportunity, which gave you work experience every day it seemed much better for me. You get life experience, you get work experience, you get everything, all in one package. I went online and visited the apprenticeships page. I clicked it, applied for it and that was it. It was easy.”

Healthcare is a work field that teaches you good communication skills and requires you to support a diverse range of people. Our apprenticeships also help you progress into more specific fields, such as caring for children or working on a maternity ward. Despite it being a role that requires a lot face-to-face interactions, Courtney reckons that you don’t need to be a particularly outgoing personal to excel as a healthcare support worker. 

I feel as though you could be a quieter person and do well in this role. I wouldn’t say I’m an extrovert or an introvert, I’m more in the middle, and this has brought me out a lot. I’ve become a much more social person because of this role. 

You quickly learn how to speak with people. I don’t think you need to be any type of person to suit this role, you just need to want to care. From there, it shapes you into the kind of person that should be a nurse or healthcare assistant.

Knowing that I’d be doing something that would make people’s lives better, I chose this apprenticeship because I knew it was going to be very rewarding. 

Courtney Carlyle — Senior Healthcare Support Worker

If you choose to take up an apprenticeship, you will work full-time in a work placement and you will typically have one day a week dedicated to study. The study portions of your apprenticeship will be supported by assessor who will provide you with regular guidance. Your employers will also work with you to make sure you receive the experience you need to earn your qualification.

Alongside study, Courtney’s full-time role allows her to put the knowledge she’s gained into practise. In a healthcare support worker role, you will be responsible for the care of patients within hospital. As well as tending to basic needs, you may also attend to health checks, sterilise equipment, take blood samples and more. 

We come in and see which ward we’re on, then we get a handover from the night staff. They’ll tell me things about the patient’s mobility, whether they’ve been eating and drinking and things like that. We then get straight into making beds, waking up the patients, doing any washing if necessary and helping with breakfast. We also will do observations.”

It can be an extremely rewarding job, knowing that you’ve made someone’s hospital stay a pleasant one. 

I like the relationship you can build with the patient. It’s nice to overhear a patient talking about you in a good way, saying things like she’s a good one’. We have a comment sheet that we give to everyone before we discharge them and it’s nice to see your name and or positive comments about the ward. It shows that we’ve helped them and done a good job.”

Courtney’s team has also made use of her sign language l skills. Many workplaces will help you grow and practise existing skills, unrelated to your primary duties, if they feel it could be useful. Talent does not go unrecognised. 

I have a Level 1 in sign language. My mum is a teacher for the deaf, so when I was in primary school, I picked it up. On the ward we have quite a few deaf people and I’ve been asked before to communicate with them and assist doctors. Recently I’ve done a research unit to explore what improvements could be made to the ward. I spoke about communication, and I’ve been working with the ward manager to prepare a booklet for deaf patients. I feel like it’s something that needs to change.”

It can be hard to find a career path that feels right for you, and that’s why it’s important to explore your options. 

A‑Levels aren’t your only option. Not a lot of people are academic, and some people just want to finish school and move into work. With an apprenticeship, you’re going into a job straight away. You can get the same results by choosing an apprenticeship over A‑Levels and university. 

If you’d like to learn more about the apprenticeship opportunities we offer, you can find further information on our apprenticeships page. Also, as a part of National Apprenticeship Week, we’re running an Apprenticeship Open Evening on 10 February. Don’t forget to book a place if you’re keen on speaking with local employers about the work placements they offer. Our apprenticeship team will also be attending the open evening if you have any general questions about apprenticeships. 

Published on:
  • 7th February 2022 (9:35 AM)
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