A number of staff members are often involved in the care of patients. Patients’ experiences of their care correlate with the quality of interactions they have had with professionals providing their care (NICE, 2012). Staff members who provide the basic aspects of care are particularly aware of the need to demonstrate the right values to their patients. In the UK, these personnel are referred to as Healthcare Assistants (HCAs).
It is clear from historical failures of care that all future healthcare professionals need to show compassion, respect and dignity during all patient contacts (Francis, 2013). By undertaking some time working as a HCA, students’ understanding of what this means in reality may become clearer, and it may also help students develop the necessary attitudes, values and behaviours needed to help shape our future workforce (Frenk et al., 2010; WHO, 2010).
Further to developing the desired values base amongst future doctors, we considered that by undertaking time as a HCA, this would help students to more fully understand the roles, responsibilities and pressures placed on care staff, so that in future care staff are better prepared to facilitate healthcare teams, enabling them to function effectively and efficiently. This paper presents the findings of a pilot completed in 2015-2016 and extended in 2016-2017.