Congratulations to Dinah Mhlanga who is the very first recipient of the NHS Professionals Care Certificate.
Dinah gained her award by taking part in our Care Support Worker Development Programme (CSWDP). Now nationally recognised, we launched the Care Certificate in April last year and having it, or its equivalent, is now a mandatory requirement for all our Trusts’ new Care Support Workers.
NHS Professionals CSWDP has been reviewed by Skills for Health and meets the Care Certificate standards. Candidates who have undertaken the programme since July will now be awarded the Care Certificate.
Depending on previous experience, Care Support Workers can do either a three or six-month programme, which requires them to complete at least 30 hours a week.
In the three-month programme (390 hours), candidates must have a minimum of three months of care or nursing home experience in the previous two years. Trainees with this level of experience do not need as much time in the placement to gain the skills necessary to complete the Care Certificate.
In the six-month programme (780 hours), Trusts accept candidates from various levels of care experience including candidates that are new to care. The additional three months are used to provide more support to trainees to complete the programme and gain the required skills for the Care Certificate.
Dinah Mhlanga, a Care Support Worker (CSW) at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, is the first Care Support Worker to receive the Care Certificate awarded by NHS Professionals. We spoke to her to find out more about this achievement.
Hi Dinah, congratulations on being one of the first NHS Professionals candidates to achieve the Care Certificate. How do you feel about your achievement?
Thank you. I feel good; the programme has been a pleasure. I can’t believe I have done it, I’m so happy. I feel very honoured being one of the first ones to achieve a Care Certificate.
What did you do before you joined the programme and when did you start?
I have worked in the care sector for over 11 years. I’m a qualified dental care nurse and before the programme I was a support worker in the mental health sector but hadn’t had any previous experience in general health. I started the programme in September; it was the three-month programme.
Why did you choose to join NHS Professionals and in particular the CSWDP?
I am a mother of three so I like the flexibility of being able to work when I want, it helps me to balance my work and family life. The programme allows you to gain more experience because you can work in different wards and look after a range of people who suffer from different conditions.
How did you hear about the programme?
It was through a friend who joined NHS Professionals and recommended it. She told me all about NHS Professionals and the flexibility they offer. I am so happy to work for NHS Professionals.
Did you know about the Care Certificate before you joined the programme? If so, did this influence your decision to apply for the job?
Yes, I read about it when I was applying for the job online. And yes, I would say it influenced my decision. The best part was that I was being trained while I was working.
Was the training helpful to your day to day work?
Yes, and it was really needed because you start not knowing anything and they then teach you everything you need to know. You don’t just go into the ward blind sighted. You get trained, they shadow you and they help you when you need it. You feel confident because you know you are here to learn.
What do you do in your day to day role?
When we start a shift, we are briefed on the patients and their conditions. You then go onto the ward and speak to the patients, you assist them and help with their meals. We also carry out observations but generally we try to help out where we are needed.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The team work. You never feel left out and we work better together. If you don’t know something the team always help you. Also, it’s amazing knowing that you are helping patients and making a difference. It’s rewarding because you know you are changing their lives and they are always so appreciative of everything you do.
Do you feel part of a team at the Trust?
They always make me feel like part of the team. They don’t treat like me like I am part time or just a bank worker. They involve you with everything that is going on in the ward, which I think is really important.
What is the best thing about working for NHS Professionals?
The flexibility and the support you get from the co-ordinator. It’s not easy having children and training at the same time but because I have committed myself to the job, it’s manageable.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy driving around the countryside and going to the park with my children. I like cooking and watching TV to know what is going on in the world.
Will the Care Certificate help you in the future and with your professional development?
I think so, yes. I have learnt a lot and it makes me feel more confident in my role having this certificate. I hope it will open a lot of doors to different opportunities. I can see myself progressing to become a registered nurse in the future.
Do you have any other comments about the programme offered by NHS Professionals?
I think NHS Professionals should continue with the programme. I encourage others to apply – it is a great opportunity.
Congratulations Dinah for receiving the first Care Certificate! Thank you to all of our workers for ensuring that patients receive the best care possible, and for being great ambassadors for NHS Professionals.
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