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Nadine Beckwith
Healthcare assistant

I can’t think of another job where you can get paid to listen to people’s life stories. People put a lot of trust in us as HCAs and nurses, and I see it as a real privilege.

A heart attack, or any other kind of problem that can feel like one usually means that patients who show up here are very scared. It’s my job to support them both in terms of their physical needs and keeping them in the best place emotionally.

I used to be an assistant manager at a care home in Cambridge, but after a while all of the paperwork meant I was missing out on time with the people there. I’ve been at Addenbrooke’s for four years now and absolutely love it. There’s always something more to learn, especially in cardiology.

Throughout the day, I perform all of the usual checks and observations, help patients get dressed and eat if they need some assistance. 

We work really closely with the doctors and nurse; we’re like an extended family and we do a lot of social activities when we get the chance.

There are some misconceptions about being an HCA that aren’t true, as well – it isn’t always a precursor to nursing, and it’s a very specialist role in itself. We get the same basic training as any nurse, but you don’t have to plan to become one.