An exploratory study of the lived experience of newly appointed Health Care Assistants (HCAs) during their first six months in a role within an Acute Hospital setting.
This research focuses on the lived experience of newly appointed Health Care Assistants during their first six months in a role within an acute hospital setting. The focus of this research is unique in that it is a UK based study involving Health Care Assistants newly employed in an acute NHS Hospital. It is timely in that it coincides with the potential for development of the non-registered nursing workforce in the United Kingdom and comes at a time when the Health Care Assistant role is in the spotlight. The study used a phenomenological hermeneutic interpretative approach based on the theoretical concepts of Heidegger, in order to explore the lived experience of twelve Health Care Assistants during their first six months of employment. In depth semi- structured interviews were carried out at 3-4 weeks and again at six months into their role. The interviews were analysed separately, and then reviewed as a whole. Key themes consistently emerged around: Belonging, Becoming an Insider; Positively Becoming and a Sense of Self. These themes were explored in relation to existing research and theoretical frameworks around starting a new role at work. The study concludes that the experiences of the health care assistants have a resonance with the concept of Transition in nursing and also with theories that have evolved through the study of apprenticeship, in particular the theories of Newcomer Adjustment and Legitimate Peripheral Participation. This led to the idea of ‘Belonging to their role’ and ‘Belonging to their ward’ as two interrelated concepts that frame the lived experience. A framework for the experience of newly appointed Health Care Assistants to acute hospital care is proposed which suggests that this group of staff would benefit from an induction and on-going support that recognises their unique experiences that straddle those of student nurses and those of more traditional work placed learners. Fostering a sense of belonging and developing the ward as a place to develop and learn is identified as important. The study provides suggestions for clinical practice, education, policy and future research.
- PhD