Listen to their observations-
It is usually a healthcare assistant who notices when a patient 'just doesn't look right'. If they notice a patient is acting funny, their observations are changing, or something just isn’t right, it is the nurse’s job to respect that observation and investigate.
The assessment of a patient is one of those tasks that cannot be delegated, but this doesn’t mean that a care assistant can’t notice problems and escalate them to you. Ignoring these escalations could lead to poorer patient outcomes and a sense of disrespect for the healthcare assistant.
You should empower your healthcare assistants to be your eyes and ears. If they think something if wrong - listen and investigate.
Appreciate their skill-set
Healthcare assistants and clinical support workers have started to undertake lot of advanced roles for little or no extra reward; venepuncture, cannulation, ECGs, catheterisation, feeding, wound assessments, pressure area care - list is endless.
If they help you out by doing one of these for you, make sure you say thank you. Generally these 'extra roles' are not within their job description so are performing these tasks out of choice.
Treat them as one of the team
You communicate with the doctors, the patients, the family, and other nurses, but how well do you communicate with your healthcare assistants?
Healthcare assistants are a vital part of the team, not only for the work they do and the observations they make, but because the whole system would fall apart without them.
There is no proverbial 'i' in team.
Include healthcare assistants in care planning and ask their opinion. They have a wealth of knowledge that should be respected. See 'Listen to their observations'.
Don’t take them for granted
Nurses know very well what it is like to have someone look past you, to feel like you don’t matter, and that your input isn’t valuable or welcome.
Healthcare assistants are the backbone of the HSE. They are responsible for the dirtiest jobs, the most difficult ratios, and get the least amount of pay and respect.
Say 'Thank You'
Those two words mean a lot!
A simple 'thank you' lifts the morale of, not only the healthcare assistants, but your whole team. It can make a massive difference even after those exhausting shifts.