What is the Difference Between HCA Training and CNA Training?

cna trainingCNA Training for an International Career

Working as a CNA internationally is not always as simple as searching for “CNA jobs” in your desired destination. Some countries do not have an equivalent and some countries call similar positions very different things. The United Kingdom is one of these countries who do not have any obviously labelled CNA positions. HCA is generally considered to be the United Kingdom equivalent of the United States of America’s CNA. But how do they compare in a practical sense? And can a CNA work as a HCA?

CNA Training and HCA Training

What is a HCA?
Health Care Assistants or HCAs operate as a support to qualified healthcare professionals and their work place duties can vary considerably based on the type of facility they are operating in. They are generally under the direct supervision of auxiliary nurses or midwives.
Typical HCA duties include:

  • Distributing food and feeding when necessary
  • Washing and bathing patients
  • Changing dressings
  • Mobilizing patients
  • Making beds
  • Assisting with toileting
  • Taking vitals
  • Working within medical plans
  • Undertaking daily treatments
  • Observing patients
  • Assisting nursing staff
  • Liaising with patients and their families
  • Maintaining the patient’s basic level of comfort
  • Recording observations

Sound familiar? Well it should! These duties could just as easily be taken from a CNA hand book.

What are the key differences between CNAs and HCAs?
Certified Nursing Assistants and Health Care Assistants have very similar roles and duties to perform but the range and diversity of a HCAs job opportunities tends to be greater, with the potential to work within maternal health units and other specialist areas more prevalent than in America.
HCAs as a general rule also experience greater job stability and a higher rate of pay that their American counter parts. Why is the healthcare support industry apparently kinder to its U.K. employees? Well the NHS (National Health Scheme) has been a standard government run medical support framework for many years now. It not only helps U.K. citizens access invaluable medical care without tremendous expense but it also make it possible to guarantee better working conditions for public medical staff. America by comparison does not have such a tried and tested system in place and the medical assistant industry is still very much in its infancy. However a HCA does not need to complete any nationally accredited training, unlike CNAs in America who must complete CNA training, meaning that changes in the nursing support industry in the U.K. could put HCA jobs in jeopardy.

What else do you need to know when traveling to the UK as a CNA?
Getting a U.K. visa can be difficult especially without qualifications that are recognized in the United Kingdom. However the CNA training can recommend you as a working visa candidate. The U.K. can be one of the more difficult places to find medical assistant work on a temporary working visa but if you manage to secure a position it will be well worth your while. Try to secure at least an interview before you embark if you will be relying on your HCA income while traveling.

Where Can I find more information?

  • Travel information guides online (always check your sources)
  • U.K. Health department

For more information on CNA training and careers, continue to follow this blog.

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