Arrow ImageAcute, PICU and Rapid Response

Posted on Jun 13 2024 by Bobbie Kelly

Healthcare Assistant development programme launched to improve quality

A programme to specifically help improve the on boarding process for new Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) who are joining the charity has launched.

The initiative which is being piloted within St Andrew’s Medium Secure division means all HCAs joining medium secure join the new development programme straight away.

The scheme focuses on creating a clear flow of learning from joining through to six months in post, and includes feedback on the learning experience from existing HCAs who work for the charity.

It forms part of the induction, which all charity staff members are invited to attend. Each individual takes part in all the usual strategy and onboarding discussions, which include a hope and recovery talk delivery by Reds Recovery College followed by a Values and Vision session led by CEO Dr Vivienne McVey. They are also introduced to their mentors, who will be helping them through the entire joining process.

Sue Fairbrother, Learning & Development Manager, said: “This programme has been designed to ensure all our new HCAs are working consistently across the entire charity. We’re completely committed to ensuring quality of care is of a high standard, which is why we are investing in training our HCAs from the moment they start.

“The idea is, they meet their mentors at the induction and as part of their induction week they spend a day on the ward – out of numbers – with their mentor to get a feel for the patient cohort.  This was a vital part of making sure our HCAs become slowly familiar with the ward environment, the staff and the patients, to ensure they become firmly embedded within the charity and feel part of our community. We also wanted to make sure they are confident in what they should be doing from the start.”

Once the HCAs have spent a day on the ward, they return to their induction for further development, where they discuss what they experienced on the ward, and how their role can contribute to providing support and care to patients.

A new HCA Mentor development course is running alongside this and Senior Healthcare Assistant Idris Hafesji-Wade works on Rose ward and has signed up to be a mentor. He said: “I absolutely love training and coaching new staff members and watching them progress and thrive.

“The new programme is very structured and providing each new HCA with a dedicated Mentor seems to be working very well.”

Uchenna Obieze has already started working on Rose, having started the new development programme back in May, and is currently completing his Learning Journal with Idris, who is mentoring him through the process.

He said: “Everything has been great so far and I feel extremely well supported. I’m part of a lovely team and from day one I have felt very welcome. As for Idris, he’s just an amazing man. He breaks everything down so I can easily understand and he’s made my transition onto the ward so much easier. I feel confident that I know what I’m doing and I’m so excited to really get started.”

eLearning remains part of the HCA programme, ensuring new starters can learn the practice and theory behind good quality care on the wards.

The following week, the new HCAs get to spend a week with their mentor on the wards but, again, are not part of the overall ward numbers.

Sue added: “This development course has been in production for a while now as ensuring we have a thriving workforce is a large part of our charity, we knew we need to find a way to boost HCA retention, while also improving quality of care.

“This new approach combines our corporate induction, mandatory training, which includes face-to-face and eLearning modules and a newly designed structured specialist learning Journal covering topics from local induction, the care certificate and specific specialist skills relevant to the division, with 6 months of regular dedicated mentoring from an experienced member of staff.”