Nursing Support Worker

In NHSScotland, Nursing Support Workers provide care and treatment to people as part of the wider nursing team.  They work in a variety of settings from hospitals, to clinics, GP practices and people’s own homes.

Working closely with the nursing team, you will be trained to monitor your patient’s health and well-being through observing them and updating their records. You will communicate with other healthcare professionals, patient’s families and carers to ensure a high level of care is provided that reflects what matters to them as individuals.

You will support people with personal care and daily living tasks, for example helping people to wash, dress and making sure they are eating and drinking well. Responding to people as individuals and ensuring care is person-centred, safe and effective are key skills in this role.

Useful skills include:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Team working skills
  • Caring and compassionate personality
  • Patience and empathy
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Committed to on-going learning and development

Useful abilities include:

  • Being able to relate to people of all ages, lifestyles and backgrounds
  • Being able to reassure patients and explain procedures
  • Keeping your knowledge and skills up to date
  • Being able to adapt to change and new ways of working

There is no minimum qualification required for applying for a Nursing Support Worker job, although previous voluntary or paid work experience in a healthcare setting would be an advantage.

Working in healthcare brings additional responsibilities, therefore your learning journey will start with NHSScotland’s HCSW Mandatory Induction Standards.  These Induction Standards are designed to protect the public by ensuring all new staff in NHSScotland understand their role and responsibilities in relation to:

  • protecting patients and the public
  • health, safety and security
  • working with people
  • working and developing in your role

Once you have completed the Mandatory Induction Standards workbook, you will continue to demonstrate that you are working to the HCSW Code of Conduct.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG)

You will also need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

The Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is a framework for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting.

For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

Contact your local NHSScotland board to find out if this Modern Apprenticeship is available in your area.

Working as a Healthcare Support Worker in NHSScotland, you will be given the training you need for your role including:

  • Hygiene and infection control procedures
  • Safe moving and handling techniques
  • Communication Skills
  • Basic Life Support skills

Your learning and development journey will start with the Mandatory Induction Standards, and will be then be reviewed every year with your manager, through the Personal Development Planning cycle.

During your career you may be required or encouraged to undertake a recognised qualification, for example an SVQ - Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6. Find out more about this qualification on the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website.

This role could lead to a Senior Nursing Support Worker job, or a more specific role like a Theatre Support Worker. You can use your experience as a healthcare support worker to progress to university and complete registered nurse training to become a nurse.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the governing body for nurses and midwives, ensuring their knowledge and skills are up to date. The NMC website also contains information about registration, training and professional standards for nurses and midwives in Scotland and the rest of the UK.