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Healthcare Technician Pilot

Susan MacKenzie, Advanced Practitioner/Healthcare Technician Training Lead from NHS Lothian was involved in introducing a new Generic Clinical HCSW role to three clinical areas. Staff in this new role focus on working in a person centred way to support rehabilitation as part of the individual's daily routine.

Some of the key factors and issues identified were:

  • Having the right people in place at all levels is crucial - this ranges from staff in clinical areas to strategic level supporters
  • Use the experiences of everyone involved to get this role development right for the clinical areas
  • Being flexible about developing the HCSW role helped us to deal with the opportunities and challenges that arose

This project aimed to provide education and experience that would give existing HCSWs the specific skills and knowledge they needed to work in the newly created role.

Key messages are:

  • Don't reinvent the education - look at what has already been developed that can be reused or adapted, then focus on the gaps
  • Work out what is feasible in the clinical setting. What works for one area may not automatically work for another
  • Remember that people have different experiences of education and may need help to develop study skills. Thinking about this before they start their programme can save needless anxiety
  • Good communication and involving everyone that the introduction of this new role impacts on, is crucial
  • Take time to plan well, have realistic expectations and be prepared for the process not going as smoothly as you would like.  Our timescale from planning to implementation was around 15 months from start to finish.
  • Plan flexibly so that you can take into account learning and development needs that emerge as the project progresses
  • Remember that changes in the HCSW's work impact on the whole team and you need to plan for this
  • Keep calm!

Download and read the full Healthcare Technician Pilot case study