Main navigation

Studying for a Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship during a pandemic

This week is National Apprenticeship week, so we asked Jacqui a few questions about her studies.

Why did you want to do the apprenticeship?

I took my current role as a support worker on a community hospital rehabilitation ward having worked previously in mental health and learning disability residential care. The apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to progress and I moved quickly from a band 2 to a band 3. To underpin the new skills I needed for this move, I started my Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship.

What did your team and line manager think about you starting your apprenticeship? Were they supportive? Did they understand what impact having an apprentice in their team might make?

From the first day my whole team have been supportive and encouraging. They want me to be the best I can be. Even though I am away from the ward one day a week tell me they can see I am more knowledgeable and care for my patents really well as a result. They even use my IT skills now to help them navigate round JAM, our intranet! While completing my apprenticeship I have had the support of a sister on my ward, who has been my workplace facilitator. She helped me in having the knowledge I need to begin my training and has been my main teacher at work. She is experienced and knowledgeable and I am lucky to have her support. I am also really lucky that my whole team, from the Drs to nurses and therapists are all experienced and happy to let me pick their brains. They spend extra time to teach me on the job as they know I want to learn. They say it helps to keep them up to date and fresh and it makes it rewarding for them to see how much I have learned and how this helps improve the level of care I offer my patients.

What has been the impact of learning been on your job?

I have taken on more responsibility by supporting staff redeployed to our ward as Covid 19 took its toll. Redeployed colleagues spent time shadowing me as I was able to support and supervise them, guiding them in the best ways of doing things in our setting. As I have progressed through my apprenticeship, I have found myself to be a lot more confident in completing clinical task as I can justify my actions in the workplace and have a good understanding of what best practice is and why we must use it.

Has your apprenticeship helped you feel more autonomous or confident in your role?

I am more confident that I can now back up my practice with research. I regularly reflect on my practice, both good and bad outcomes and I make sure I learn and improve, and that there is a positive outcome to all I do. I feel like I have a real knowledge of the areas I study, and it is incredible how many areas of my work I have covered during my apprenticeship.

How did your assessor support you with your learning? Were they approachable? Did they meet your expectations?

My apprenticeship assessor, Liza Clark, deserves so much recognition as she has constantly gone above and beyond for me. She is always approachable and easily contacted when I have any questions or need support. Having her as an assessor has massively helped me in my learning as she always pushes me to be my best. She is extremely knowledgeable and is a great role model for me, being an example of the level of skill and professionalism, I aim for. I could not be better supported. She has supported me in gaining my confidence in professional discussions, which is something I found scary when I began my apprenticeship! I never feel embarrassed to say I don’t understand something and my weekly meetings really help to us plan and check my progress. I only wish that as I continue to progress in my learning, she could remain by my side!

What was the thing you most enjoyed about your apprenticeship?

I have been able to choose special units which are relevant to my work on my ward. In particular; wound care, mental health and care for those at the end of life. These have special importance for me. For example, recently we had a very restless and distressed patient who was wandering in the night, my increased understanding of mental health made me more able to help him. I also recently cared for a patient in the end stages of life and was able to use my understanding to be more involved in their care and medical needs. These units have proved so useful for me. Although Covid 19 has added extra stress to my learning, I have been able to take a short break in my learning which really helped me to rebalance and spend time supporting my ward.

What’s next for you?

I want to stay in my ward as I love the people I work with and feel amazed at the level of support and encouragement I have received since beginning my career. I want to become a registered professional on the ward. I could become a therapist or a nurse, but I may be
tending towards nursing. I have already expressed my interest in going on to the Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship with TLE which is the next step before taking a nursing /OT/physio degree. This has been supported by my manager.

Would you recommend doing apprenticeship?

I would absolutely recommend it. I have already told my friends at work. It is a great way to learn new skills and it is fun. What have you got to lose?

Virgin Care
Virgin Care
Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

For this year’s National Apprenticeship week Sarah talks us through the challenges that learners have faced this year, and the benefits of apprenticeships for both the learners and their organisations.

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Lead Nurse Amanda Pulford gives us an insight to what it’s like working in a prison.

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Sarah Button explains why she applied for our Feel the Difference grant to raise awareness for hidden disabilities, and who her inspiration was.