Health Care Assistant (HCA) Work Environment
Health Care Assistants (HCAs) are important and valued members of the health care team. Health Care Assistants are caregivers who provide personal care assistance and services in a manner that recognizes and supports the unique needs, abilities and backgrounds of clients and their families. They help to promote and maintain the health, safety, independence, comfort, dignity and overall wellbeing of individuals and their families.
HCAs work in a variety of health care settings including acute care, residential, home and community settings (e.g. independent, supportive care, assisted living, group home options, hospice/palliative care). HCAs work under the direct supervision of a qualified, licensed healthcare professional, usually a nurse, who provides instruction, direction, support and feedback.
The work done by HCAs is based on a set of fundamental values, beliefs and ethical principles that are consistently reflected in all aspects of their work with clients, families, team members and others.
In British Columbia, HCAs have no legally defined scope of practice and are not members of a regulated health profession. However, HCAs are registered with the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry and have a core competency profile.
All HCAs have a job description outlined by the individual employer and are accountable to the employer for the satisfactory performance of assigned care.
Newly qualified Health Care Assistants can expect to earn between $26,000 and $32,000 per year. The precise salary provided to an individual will depend upon the nature of their position. After a few years’ worth of experience, the salary of a Health Care Assistant is likely to increase to approximately $36,000 or higher.
A career as a Health Care Assistant is better suited to people who are:
Also suited to those who are able to:
Keep sensitive information confidential at all times
Communicate effectively (written and verbal)
Work with people of varied ages and from varied backgrounds
Self reflect and recognize own limitations
Remain patient and calm in challenging situations
Take a collaborative and respectful approach with team members
Many Health Care Assistants choose to stay in their position throughout their career. This is usually because they find it personally rewarding as well as financially stable. At the same time, experience as a Health Care Assistant will provide individuals with a solid foundation for any future endeavor in health care.