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Clinical Skills for Healthcare Assistants and Assistant Practitioners

Angela Whelan and Elaine Hughes

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Edge Hill University, UK


Second Edition


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The Francis Report highlighted the importance of a workforce that was not only caring and compassionate but able to provide care that is underpinned by knowledge. The basis of the broad, generic role that is undertaken by many healthcare workers has alignment with this view of the future nurse and has been included within the Skills for Health and the Skills Certificates.

This book provides background knowledge on the day-to-day care that is provided by those working in caring environments. Clinical skills are fundamental to the role of the care worker, and as the role of the care worker progresses the expansion of the skills that can be undertaken as part of their role continues.

To address this, the book covers both fundamental clinical skills as well as the more complex ones that generally require specific training within the workplace to complete. Therefore this book is aimed at those already engaged in care work and new students in health and social care in a variety of clinical settings and can be used as a resource that will guide the reader through the clinical skill itself through to self-assessment.

Elaine Hughes & Angela Whelan


The production of this second edition has been a long and winding road and we would like to acknowledge the work of both Paula Ingram and Irene Lavery in the original book.

The continued support and encouragement form our families, especially Ged and Ruth Whelan, Owen Gallagher and Les McNee has been unwavering, for which we are very grateful.

Enthusiasm from friends and colleagues has been continuous and we would like to offer special thanks to Karen Ellis, Aintree University Hospital Trust, Beth Spencer and Debbie Chadwick, Edge Hill University for their help and support.

Angela Whelan & Elaine Hughes


The book has been split into three sections:

  1. 1. Section 1 covers fundamental skills applicable to all staff, and is essential as a prerequisite before performing all clinical skills.
  2. 2. Section 2 contains core clinical skills, which includes most of the clinical skills required for clinical practice that are often taught at a local level.
  3. 3. Section 3 outlines complex clinical skills, which require more in-depth training and may be restricted to specialist areas of practice, and that often require the direct supervision of registered nurses.

Each chapter has the same structure, starting with the aims and objectives of the chapter, followed by the explanation of why the skill is performed, relevant anatomy and physiology, related aspects and terminology, how to perform the skill and common problems. Throughout each chapter case studies and Think about it boxes relating to the topic will be included, encouraging the reader to apply them to their own practice. The final section addresses both self- and formal assessment where required.

The use of checklists, pictures and clear, concise theory is aimed at making the book a comprehensive yet easy to read resource for all.

Section I

Fundamental skills