Tracy Nokes, 58, a health care assistant at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, has successfully taken her career to the next level by qualifying as an assistant practitioner.
Tracy, who has four grown-up children, has spent 26 years in the care sector working in areas as diverse as mental health, Huntington’s disease, hospital wards, care homes and psychiatric units.
She joined Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre five years ago as a health care assistant and was encouraged to take the NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care, which she passed.
The hospital has given her further support to train as an assistant practitioner via the City and Guilds Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare, which she completed successfully over a two-year period.
Tracy’s role is in the Outpatients Department where she assesses patients before they go on to see the rest of the team who will be caring for them. She carries out ECGs if required, takes blood samples and carries out other assessment measures, such as weight and height.
What is an assistant practitioner?
While not registered health practitioners, assistant practitioner have a level of competency through their experience and training and support other qualified colleagues.
She said: “I love my job and the fact that I get to interact with our patients right at the beginning of their journey with us. I particularly enjoy helping to put people at ease in situations where they might be afraid of needles, for example. Often where they have agreed to have a blood sample taken, I will have taken it without them even noticing. We are very thorough with our assessments, which surprises a lot of people. It can be a good ‘MoT’ for a lot of our patients.”
Tracy appreciates being part of a mature, supportive team. She commented: “We all have a wealth of experience and we give each other a lot of mutual support, so as a consequence the environment is relaxed and patients feel more comfortable and less stressed. My manager Nicola Law and the rest of my colleagues are brilliant and really helped me to succeed. I know that I have a team of trained nurses and other clinicians behind me who all wanted to see me do well.
After raising four children and setting them off on their careers, Tracy now feels it is time to progress her own career. She said: “I did my job as a mum and now I have done something for me. The Diploma system is a fantastic way for someone at my stage of life to take my career forward and achieve even more. Diplomas are a great way to update and improve your practice and show that you really know your job. I think everyone should do them!”
Nicola Law, Outpatient Department Manager at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, commented: “Tracy is a valued member of the team and we are delighted that she has attained the Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare. As an organisation, we endeavour to support and nurture our staff to help them succeed professionally and I am confident that Tracy will benefit from her most recent qualification – and it’s great for the team too.”