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Assistant Practitioner Project

Lesley Booth, Workforce Planning and Development Project Officer from NHS Tayside was involved in the Assistant Practitioner Project, which aimed to explore potential for development of the Assistant Practitioner role in NHS Tayside and to provide recommendations for future development across NHSScotland.

The project also aimed to offer educational opportunities, developing HCSWs competence within levels 2 and 3 of the Career Framework for Health, using SVQ processes to support and provide evidence of learning.

Lesley advised that

'Having worked on previous projects, I had learned what was likely to work well, where the challenges, the pitfalls and delays were likely to crop up, and that detailed planning was key. This helped us to keep to the original timeline and keep people on board.'

In planning, we worked collaboratively and effectively with Dundee College, and a wide range of stakeholders, utilising existing recognised qualifications to meet the needs of the individuals work environment.

The project received funding from The Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland enabling 50 HCSWs to undertake an SVQ.

 Some of the key factors and issues identified were:

  • Working with staff and dispelling misconceptions from the start helped everyone get on board with the education and role development
  • Working in collaboration with the education partners allowed us to use education we were less familiar with to best advantage as NHS Tayside was not an accredited SVQ centre
  • The registered staff who acted as mentors needed information and support to be able to fulfil this role
  • Use the knowledge and skills of everyone involved to help reduce the potential problems and pitfalls, and draw on their expertise
    This type of support and development can have a huge impact on the HCSWs who participate and the care they provide

The key messages are:

  • Get the right people on board and involve grass roots staff from the start.
  • Building relationships and communication are essential for success
  • Identify the education that best suits the needs of the service and HCSWs, and explore what is already there that you can use and adapt
  • Draw from your previous experience and that of everyone involved. Having worked on projects before provided invaluable insight into where the pitfalls could be, and how to minimise the chances of them happening
    HCSWs may need support in developing their study skills
  • Be realistic - the development you start out aiming for may not be possible, but if you are realistic and flexible, you can still end up with good outcomes
  • Plan well and learn from the experiences of others, gathering as much information as you can to inform your plans

Download and read the full Assistant Practicitioner Project case study.