How to become a Ward Assistant

Ward assistants help allied health professionals and staff in hospitals and other healthcare establishments with non-medical duties including housekeeping, food service and transportation, and ward, patient and office support.

Personal requirements of a Ward Assistant

  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Able to lift heavy objects
  • Caring and supportive attitude
  • Respect for the rights of others
  • Able to perform domestic duties efficiently
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to follow instructions

Education & Training for a Ward Assistant

You can work as a ward assistant without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in health support services or health services assistance. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a ward assistant through a traineeship in Health Support Services or Health Services Assistance. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Ward Assistant

Ward assistants may perform the following tasks:

  • make sure that an adequate supply of clean clothing and linen is available for patients and that soiled items are removed and cleaned
  • assist in maintaining stocks of linen and non-medical supplies
  • assist with lifting and turning patients and transporting them in wheelchairs or on movable beds
  • clean rooms such as bathrooms, showers, utility rooms and offices, and clean interior windows
  • mop and buff floors, vacuum carpets, remove rubbish and linen, and dust all areas
  • clean equipment in the pan room such as pan trolleys, buckets, pans, bowls, suction bottles and tubing, commodes, wheelchairs, seats and rinse trays
  • clean patients’ lockers and tables
  • distribute and collect food trays, check food orders and replenish refrigerator supplies
  • accompany patients who are ready to be discharged to the central waiting area
  • transport equipment, X-rays and patient records between wards, departments and theatres
  • transport deceased patients from wards to the morgue
  • assist in emergencies and patient restraint.

Working conditions for a Ward Assistant

Ward assistants work rostered shifts which include night and weekend work. They are on their feet for most of the day. In large hospitals, ward assistants may work in a particular department such as outpatients or maternity. In smaller institutions, they may assist in several or all departments.

Employment Opportunities for a Ward Assistant

Ward assistants work in public and private hospitals, aged-care facilities, hospices, some health clinics and after-care centres.


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