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What is a healthcare assistant and how can you become one?

Posted on: 01 Feb

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries and reports show that global spending within this sector will exceed $10 trillion by 2022. Though it employs millions of people across a huge range of roles, there is one thing that unites each person – the passion to work with patients and other healthcare professionals, to provide the level of care that everyone deserves.

The variety of jobs means there are many different career paths you can take, and a great place to start is as a Healthcare Assistant. Many people remain in this role because they enjoy the level of social contact with patients. But for others, who have their sights on other roles within healthcare, a Healthcare Assistant job can open lots of doors.

So there’s no dispute that the demand for healthcare workers is booming and there are many rewardable jobs on offer, but which is right for you? To help you decide, we’ve outlined what a Healthcare Assistant does and how you can become one:

Your day-to-day tasks

Healthcare Assistant work in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and within communities, visiting people in their homes. Where you work and your level of training and experience will determine your day-to-day tasks. For example, some jobs will require you to take blood samples, for which you’ll need phlebotomy training. During the pandemic, Healthcare Assistants have been supporting sampling studies and helping the industry get that bit closer to delivering a coronavirus vaccination to the whole population.

You’ll work alongside other healthcare professionals who are driven by a passion for collaboration and solving complex problems and perhaps work directly with the NHS. But no matter what setting you work in or who you work with, you’ll be united by the desire to make a positive impact on human health.

A Healthcare Assistant role exposes you to different career options and over time you’ll see it is one of the best industries to work in, especially if you want to carve out a unique career path.

What qualifications you’ll need

Again, the setting where you work will determine what qualifications an employer will ask for. A Healthcare Assistant role is often an entry-level role, meaning that you will need no formal training but will likely need GCSEs in Maths and English to evidence literacy and numeracy skills. Other employers may look for a healthcare qualification, such as a BTEC of NVQ, and for roles where you need to hit the ground running on the first day, you’ll need to show experience working as a Healthcare Assistant.

What skills you’ll need

IT literate

Strong IT skills and a high level of accuracy in data capture are needed to maintain and analyse patient records.

Time management

As a Healthcare Assistant you must be organised, able to work autonomously and confident planning your workload effectivity.


As the first point of contact for patients, a huge part of this role is communicating with patients sensitively. For this, you’ll need compassion and empathy - one of the top soft skills you need in healthcare, if not to the top.

Positive approach

To drive healthcare forward you’ll need a can-do attitude and a positive mindset.

How to make your application stand out

Experts predict that by 2024 over one-quarter of the UK population will be over 60-years-old. A growing population creates an increased demand for professionals who have the skills and knowledge to take care of the older generation. Despite Healthcare Assistants being in high demand, there is a talent gap in pharma and life sciences and you need to know how you can stand out from other applicants.

A Healthcare Assistant job can be challenging, so when applying for a role you need to show that you’re up to the challenge. Evidence of the skills above will prove that you’re capable of doing the job but you also need to show a willingness to working alongside nurse advisors, GPs and clinicians and help to improve outcomes for patients.

Here are a few things to consider when writing a Healthcare Assistant CV:

  • Keep it professional
  • Start with any relevant qualifications
  • Use the STAR method to highlight experience
  • Give examples of your soft skills
  • Choose a clear layout and check for typos

Drive healthcare forward with IQVIA

At IQVIA, we’re pushing the boundaries of human science and data science to make the biggest impact possible. Working with us is an opportunity to help our healthcare clients find unparalleled insights and solutions for patients. If you’re interested in joining our network of healthcare professionals browse our current Phlebotomist and Healthcare Assistant jobs. Or if you’re looking for more career advice, find out how to job hunt during the pandemic.