National Apprenticeship Week - Blog by Caroline Hodge

15th March 2016

14th - 18th March 2016 is National Apprenticeships Week.
As part of this week, we will be featuring a new blog every day from our Health & Social Care Apprentices.

Caroline Hodge is a Health and Social Care Apprentice working on Kingfisher Ward. Here Caroline tells us about her experience.

When I first started as an apprentice my day consisted of me feeling unsure of a lot of things, but as I watched more and learnt more, the days became much easier and I felt more confident in being able to do the job correctly.

I start work at 7.30am. I have to admit that on some mornings I really don’t want to get out of bed, but when I get going I look forward to what the day may bring. When I arrive at work everyone is always very friendly. We have a handover which normally lasts around 20 to 30 minutes; we then start to offer personal care to the patients.

Some patients are independent and just need a little assistance while others need full assistance. Once all of our patients are up, washed and dressed and have had their breakfast, we then start clinical observations. I really enjoy doing this as it is a very important part of the day and can indicate if a patient is potentially becoming poorly. The patients on the ward that I care for are in this hospital for general rehabilitation, with the majority having been referred from Derriford Hospital after having a fall.

At the same time as the clinical observations we also have to record blood sugars. When I first did this I was a little nervous but, like anything, once you have done it a couple of times and you are deemed competent then you feel more confident. Other competencies that I have gained during my apprenticeship include catheter care and infection control.

One part of the job that I really enjoy is escorting patients to appointments; I have taken patients to lots of different departments at Derriford Hospital. This includes the fracture clinic, x-ray and even to ophthalmology. I get on well with the other members of staff and have already made friendships that will last a lifetime. I have seen many patients come and go, and I have only been on the ward for 5 months.

This job is very demanding emotionally and physically but even when you are feeling tired and your feet are aching, it’s all worth it as you have made a difference and helped patients - whether it’s just through having a chat with them or helping with their personal care.

So far I am really enjoying being an apprentice, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The pay may not be high but it’s a great opportunity to gain experience in your chosen field and achieve many useful qualifications along the way. This whole process has been an eye opener for me. I personally suffer from anxiety but have found that dealing with patients who have dementia and other problems such as anxiety, mental health problems and depression has actually helped me, because through helping others it has helped me understand a bit more about these issues and my own mental health. If anyone asks me if it is worth doing an apprenticeship, I absolutely tell them YES!!!

So, I end this blog saying that I think being a Health Care Assistant is an amazing job to do, and I love it. It is so suited to me and I am so glad that I took the plunge and joined as a Health and Social Care apprentice.


To find out more about apprenticeships from Livewell Southwest, please click here.