Would you like to learn more about becoming a support worker? Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions.
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What is a support worker?
A support worker is someone who provides care under the direction of registered Health Care Professional (HCP) through delegation and appropriate supervision.
In the NHS they usually fall within the Agenda for Change pay bands 2-4 and are currently not regulated. They can be profession specific ie supporting physiotherapy or work across professions ie supporting physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
- Band 2 - Supports patients with personal care e.g helping a patient to get changed for a therapy assessment and undertakes other general duties e.g cleaning equipment and basic administration tasks
- Band 3 - Supports with clinical interventions and undertakes delegated work independently following a plan e.g supporting a patient with mobility practice and exercises and issuing walking aids
- Band 4 - Supports with some aspects of assessment and coordination of care including developing and adapting a treatment plan within agreed protocols or for particular groups of patients. E.g. Assessment of walking and provision of appropriate aids and exercise plans and referring patients to other services. Band 4 support workers are likely to be working to more autonomy and able to make decisions within a protocol. They will have greater knowledge than band 3 but usually in one specific area/specialty.
They may supervise co-workers and be responsible for practical skills training.
How do I become a Support worker?
Support worker posts are often advertised on a local basis by recruiting trusts and other employers. The requirements for these posts will vary from organisation to organisation depending on their specific needs. If you are seeking work, you could compile a list of potential employers in the area you wish to work eg. London or Birmingham, and send a copy of your CV with a covering letter to those potential employers, giving a clear indication of why you are interested in the work of a support worker and what skills and experiences you have that will help you to undertake the role.
What qualifications do I need?
At the moment there is no national recognised entry qualification to become a support worker although evidence of previous care work or the possession of a healthcare related qualification at level 2 -3 or SVQ level 5-7 would be advantageous.
There will be an expectation that applicants will have a good level of general education, particularly in relation to skill areas like communication.
Can I join the CSP?
You can join the CSP as an associate member if you are working as a support worker, meaning your work includes some physiotherapy activities and duties and delegated to you and supervised by a registered Health Care Professiona.