Working In Health and Social Care
A - Introduction
For this assignment I have been asked to research two contrasting job roles. The two roles I have chosen to research are an Accident and Emergency Children’s Nurse and an Occupational Therapist. I chose to research these as I would like to work in A+E nursing once I’m qualified and I thought it would be good to get a valuable insight to how this type of ward operates. With the Occupational Therapist I was interested to research this to find out more about it as it’s not an everyday job you hear about on the news, whereas nursing is.
A+E Children’s Nurse
This branch does not just involve nursing what people might think are “miniature adults”. Children have needs different from most adults and as they are children, they have different ways of letting someone know what is wrong with them.
A+E nurses usually work within the statutory sector and may sometimes work in the private sector, but the majority work in the public sector. They are employed by the NHS who are funded by the taxpayer and managed by the Government. The NHS is the responsibility of the Department of Health which provides health services for the public through the NHS.
Role of an A+E Children’s Nurse
To be successful in this role it is important to have various skills that will enable a nurse to face challenges that need key elements such as family care and support. As an A+E children’s nurse, most of the time the nurse will be dealing with distressed children and their relatives. This means there are going to be special demands that the nurse will have to exceed. The ability to interpret behaviour and reactions from young children is going to be a key factor in delivering effective care for patients. Because there will be many distressed parents on an A+E ward, it is important that the nurse shows intuition and immense reassuring abilities.
Typical work activities will vary according to the role, but they can include:
- observing patients and reporting any changes in their condition
- preparing patients for operations
- keeping accurate records of patient’s observations such as pulse and blood pressure;
- monitoring different functions of the body such as respiration
- preparing materials such as blood transfusions and drips
- maintaining and checking intravenous infusion
- drug and injection administration
- assisting with tests and evaluations
- acting quickly during emergencies
- implementation of regular investigations
- gaining responsible adult’s consent for treatment
- giving support, advice, reassurance and education to patients and close relatives
- teaching skills to junior nurses and, occasionally, to junior doctors
- organising staff and workload to ensure shift cover, possibly across more than one ward
- engaging in and promoting multidisciplinary teamwork, including working alongside specialist doctors, health visitors, social workers, radiographers and physiotherapists
- observing strict hygiene and safety rules and ensuring that visitors also observe any rules on the ward or unit
- writing reports before completing a shift.
The level of public approval in this job role is above average. Nurses are there to keep you well and nurse you back to health. They play an important role in every day life. The public subconsciously know that if anything happened to them there will be a nurse there to nurse them back to health. This is obviously going to raise public approval and status of the job.
There are two routes to becoming a nurse, one being a degree course and the other a diploma course which is slowly being phased out. By April 2007, many Universities will not offer the diploma option. Qualifications needed to study at degree level are 5 GCSE’s at grade A*-C including Maths and English, 200 UCAS points at A2 level and the applicant has to be over 17.5 years. The course is a 3 years full time course and at the end the student is able to be registered as a professional nurse.
Career progression opportunities within this job are extremely high. If the degree course was taken at University, the individual can climb the career ladder much quicker into a managerial position than someone who has studied on the diploma course.
Career development is structured and, after qualification and with experience, there are opportunities to specialise in hospital and community areas such as burns and plastics, intensive care, cancer care, child protection, ambulatory care, asthma, fractures, diabetes, care of the new-born, learning disabilities, counselling, and challenging behaviour.
As with other branches of nursing, there are opportunities to progress your career in management, clinical specialisms, teaching, research or in a community-based role, for instance as a school nurse, practice nurse, occupational health nurse or health visitor.
Many changes have been taking place within The National Health Service (NHS), with new opportunities arising. For example, NHS Direct, the national, nurse-led telephone helpline, offers flexible opportunities outside hospital settings to nurses with post-registration experience. The first wave of new nurse consultant posts will soon be established across a wide range of services. Nurse consultants spend much of their time working directly with patients, but they are also responsible for developing personal practice, are involved in research and contribute to education, training and development.
All nurses have a managerial element to their work, but some career paths are more management-orientated than others. As you become more senior, you can expect to have less hands-on nursing responsibility. For example, ward management may lead to managing a clinical unit and, in the future, to executive posts within a trust.
Outside the NHS, opportunities for experienced practitioners can be found in private healthcare organisations, social services, voluntary organisations, residential nursing homes and in health services overseas, both in paid and voluntary capacities.
Due to less and less nurses being needed these days, as I mentioned earlier, the Diploma route is being phased out so it is going to be harder for people to train as they can only go through the Degree course, therefore lowering the amount of registered nurses coming out at the end of 3 years. There tend to be fewer job opportunities in rural areas compared to those in large cities. In areas which are primarily home to many older people than young, there will be many opportunities for working with elderly people.
Levels of resourcing can have a significant impact on the availability of jobs and on working conditions. Different political parties usually have contrasting attitudes and views to services provisions. For example, Labour governments and Labour-controlled councils have a history of providing more funding for health, social services and education, compared with Conservative ones, which have a history of spending lesson public services in order to reduce national and local taxation. A reduction in spending on public services tends to lead to fewer employment opportunities in health and social care as well as to more difficult working conditions.
A2 Health and Social Care, Oxfordshire: Philip Allan Updates, 2006
Salaries are either based on the amount of hours worked, or at an hourly rate. Workers in higher positions tend to earn more than people that don’t have a senior position. For people who work in the NHS, they were introduced to a new pay structure in 2004. This is called the Agenda for Change. By the end of 2006 all NHS funded institutions will be expected to have their staff on the Agenda for Change.
Pay for newly qualified nurses are around £19,000. Range of typical salaries at senior level/with experience varies greatly, depending upon skills acquired and responsibilities of the post. Most experienced nurses will be working in Band 6 or 7, with salaries ranging from £27,000 to well over £30,000. Additional qualifications and experience may enhance salary and promotion prospects. Extra payments may be available for staff working at particular times or in high cost areas.