Health and social care careers – feeling good and working well
The NHS employs around 1.4 million people and social care 1.6 million people, let’s take a look at three key roles in health and social care.
Health visitors are primary healthcare team members. They promote good health and they prevent illness by working within communities, visiting people in their own homes and offering them help and advice.
Health visitors support parents of new-born and young children by offering them guidance of sleeping, safety, development, weaning and things like immunisation. They also identify potential risks to ensure that safeguarding is in place and offer emotional support when needed.
To become a health visitor, you first need to become a qualified, registered nurse or midwife. After this you need to undertake an approved post-graduate training programme and submit to background checks as you will be working with children and vulnerable adults. You will need to drive as you will be working in the community.
The starting salary for a health visitor is £26,250.
Social workers support vulnerable people through difficult times and protect them from harm.
To become a social worker, you need to undertake a degree that is approved by the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). You will also need to submit to background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to make sure that you are suitable to work with young and vulnerable people.
There is a social worker apprenticeship in development at the moment, so hopefully there will be yet another route into this career soon.
As with the role of health visitor, you need to have good communication skills as a social worker as well as a respect for people with different cultural backgrounds to you own. You also need to be the kind of person who is capable of making a professional decision and seeing this through. Some of the situations that social workers face are distressing and stressful and so resilience is important.
The average starting salary for a social worker is £24,000.
Care workers help people to live as independently as possible. Working in day centres, residential homes or visiting people in their own homes to support them, care workers help people with all sorts of everyday tasks such as writing letters, shopping and paying bills. They also help them to wash, dress, eat and use the bathroom.
The role of the care worker can be physically demanding and there may be some weekend, evening and overnight work involved. Whilst you don’t need a degree like you do for the roles of social worker and health visitor, you do need to have the right values, attitude and behaviours. You can start working as a care worker on an apprenticeship.
The average starting salary for a care worker is between £12,500 and £16,000