A Waikato DHB on-the-job training scheme for health care assistants is attracting the interest of several other district health boards around the country.
The first group of health care assistants to complete the Level 3 National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support graduated in a ceremony at Waikato Hospital last month.
The health care assistants work under the supervision of registered nurses. They carry out a variety of tasks for sick or elderly patients. Waikato DHB employs over 200 health care assistants in its hospitals, care facilities and community services.
The first graduates of the Waikato DHB scheme are from the Hamilton and Thames Supported Transfer and Accelerated Rehabilitation Teams (START) which provide intensive rehabilitation for older people in their own homes following discharge from hospital.
Nurse coordinator for the training scheme Colleen Mellsop says the aim of the scheme is to build knowledge and flexibility in a part of the health workforce that is becoming increasingly important to support health professionals in delivering health services. It was initiated by Waikato DHB as part of its future health workforce strategy.
“Health care assistants have the potential to expand into a range of roles in local communities and in health facilities, including assisting people with stable chronic disease,” she says.
“This type of qualification will give health care assistants more knowledge and confidence, and that leads to wider career opportunities and improved patient safety.”
Waikato DHB is committed to continue the training for its health care assistants, and already a group from medical and surgical services at Waikato Hospital have started a 6-month course to gain the certificate qualification.
The qualification is based on national standards, and Waikato DHB is working closely with ITO Careerforce. Geneva Health has adapted the resource material to meet the specific needs of a district health board workforce.
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