Nurses’, midwives’ and patients’ perceptions of trained health care assistants


  • Sinead Keeney BA MReS,

  • Felicity Hasson BA MSc PGDip,

  • Hugh McKenna BSc DipN AdvDipEd Dphil RGN RMN RNT FRCSI,

  • Patricia Gillen BSc MSc PGDipEd RGN RM RPN

Sinead Keeney,
School of Nursing,
University of Ulster at Jordanstown,
Shore Road,
Newtownabbey BT37 0QB,


Aim.  This paper reports on part of a larger study and outlines Registered Nurses’ and Midwives’ perceptions of, and satisfaction with, trained health care assistants in a regional hospital setting in the Republic of Ireland.

Background.  An increased reliance upon health care assistants in the clinical setting has highlighted the need to consider how staff and patients perceive the health care assistant role.

Findings.  Nurses were satisfied with the work undertaken by trained health care assistants and considered that they contributed positively to patient care and supported nurses/midwives by undertaking non-professional duties. However, maternity clients reported that health care assistants were mostly giving direct care, and their availability was perceived to be better than that of qualified staff. Some nurses/midwives were reluctant to assume responsibility for delegation of direct care duties to health care assistants.

Conclusion.  The employment of health care assistants yields positive outcomes for staff and female clients but consideration must be given to role clarity. Further research into how qualified staff perceive health care assistants is important as such perceptions influence delegation, integration, role development and acceptance of health care assistants.