Real-life story: Marta

Marta Calkiewicz started her NHS career journey as a Housekeeping Assistant in 2008. She decided to develop her career to work more closely with patients, and for the past nine months has been working as a healthcare assistant at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust.

How I got into the role

My NHS career started in 2008 as a housekeeping assistant/hygiene technician in Solihull Hospital. It is a general/acute hospital with a variety of patients. I understood then that I wanted to work with patients closely. I loved interacting with the patients, and I felt good when I made their day better.

In June 2017, I joined Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust as housekeeping assistant. Working with people with learning disabilities and autism made my working day really enjoyable. Interaction with patients and the relationships I built with them made me feel even stronger about me becoming healthcare assistant. I worked as a housekeeping assistant on amber unit for over two years. I got to know all staff on the ward, the structure, how it works, and I knew I wanted to be part of this team.

In November 2019, our Trust organised an open day to recruit healthcare support workers, which I attended. I was successful and in February 2020 I joined the team. By March I had completed all my necessary training to do my job.

What I do

Being a  Health Care Assistant  is very rewarding. I work with patients with learning disabilities and autism and associated mental health conditions. Sometimes patients also have additional physical health problems too. They have different levels of learning disabilities, from mild, moderate, to sometimes severe. As a part of my job I am providing patients with emotional and practical support. I help them with day-to-day tasks such as personal hygiene, cleaning, and shopping. I try to get them involved in different activities provided by the unit, support them in therapy groups run on the ward, follow patients’ Positive Behavioural Support plans and risk assessments, and feedback throughout my day to the nurse in charge in relation to any observations I have made that day. I escort patients for their community days outside the unit and on the hospital site. I also encourage them to become involved in all aspects of their lifestyle and identify their own health needs. Part of my job description is to help with creating Positive Behavioural Support and care plans, which are very important for patients’ care.

The best bits

I really enjoy working with patients. I feel like I am making small changes to their life, and it makes me feel valued when patients express that they are happy when I am at work. Interaction with patients and building good rapport with them is very rewarding.

I would recommend this job to anyone who likes to make changes to people’s lives. People with learning disabilities and autism are very unique people.

I work with patients who are probably never going to have a full independent life due to complexity and level of need. My job sometimes can be very difficult and challenging but it is definitely rewarding and varied. I love to help others so that they can enjoy their lives too.