Career Profile Examples

Study Areas
Course Types

Patient Care Assistant

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: > 50,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: < $920 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief While nursing staff are focusing on various clinical situations in health care services (hospitals, nursing homes), patient care assistants are busy undertaking various duties to also help ensure that these services run efficiently.

There are currently around 6,200 personal care and nursing assistants employed in South Australia. Employment is largely part-time and most work in the health and community services industry. Most persons in this occupation are female and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has an older age profile with close to half of workers aged 45 years or older.

Quick Profile Navigation

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Patient Care Assistant

Accredited (Award)


Under the direction and supervision of nurses and patient support services managers, patient care assistants undertake a range of duties which support clinical care. These include cleaning, catering and traditional orderly duties, for example, patient movement and transporting patients to appointments and procedures within a hospital. It is an assistant's responsibility to transfer patients safely and to ensure that patients are accompanied by any relevant medical documentation and their personal belongings. Warren, a patient care assistant, employed by one of the metropolitan's major hospitals says that patients may be transferred from anywhere within the hospital or nursing home including the grounds areas. Patient care assistants are also required to assist in emergencies. A Code Blue emergency may involve transferring a patient or even a staff member who may have collapsed in the hospital grounds, for example.

Similar Interests?

Not quite the career you are looking for? Please try the related course profiles below:

Helping and Community Services

Customer Service Officer,  Massage Therapist,  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker,  Tourist Information Officer,  Patient Care Assistant,  Landcare Officer,  Library Assistant,  Fitness Instructor,  Medical Administrative Officer,  Personal Assistant,  Financial Planner / Financial Investment Advisers,  Park Ranger,  Aged or Disabilities Carer,  Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages,  Youth Worker or Disability Worker,  Police Officer,  Occupational Health, Safety & Environment Professional,  Counsellor and Community Worker,  Interpreter,  Child Care Worker

Influencing and Personal Contact

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker,  Tourist Information Officer,  Event Coordinator,  Nurse (Enrolled),  University / VET Lecturer,  Retail Buyer,  Florist,  Retail Sales Supervisors and Assistants,  Management Consultant,  Patient Care Assistant,  Landcare Officer,  Music Professionals,  Personal Trainer,  Beauty Therapist,  Designers for Theatre, Performance and Events,  Fitness Instructor,  Project and Program Administrator,  Marketing and Advertising Specialists,  Copywriter,  Bank Officer,  Human Resources Manager,  Personal Assistant,  Information Technology Manager,  Butcher,  Cellar Door Salesperson,  Veterinary Nurse,  Market Research Analyst,  Fashion Designer,  Park Ranger,  Accountant,  Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages,  Youth Worker or Disability Worker,  Police Officer,  School Services Officer,  ICT Network Professionals,  Occupational Health, Safety & Environment Professional,  Hairdresser,  Film, Stage, TV and Radio Director,  Counsellor and Community Worker,  Child Care Worker,  Conveyancer


Laboratory and Science Technician (Laboratory Workers),  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker,  Nurse (Enrolled),  Phlebotomist,  Patient Care Assistant,  Medical Administrative Officer,  Veterinary Nurse,  Dental Workers/ Dental Assistants

Education Requirements

Of those currently employed in this occupation 37% have either a Certificate III or IV, 5% have either an Advanced Diploma or a Diploma and 42% have no post school qualifications.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate III and IV in Allied Health Assistance and Certificate III in Health Services Assistance.

SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

In South Australia, patient care assistants are employed by most metropolitan hospitals and many regional hospitals. Job descriptions may vary slightly between health services in the metropolitan and regional areas and are dependant on the nature of the hospital, for example roles may differ in a teaching hospital compared to a secondary hospital. Patient care assistants may also find employment at nursing homes throughout the State. According to industry representatives, this is a stable workforce that experiences a relatively low turnover. Only a small number of full-time positions become available each year. Because of training opportunities, the casual staff already employed by the various health services are usually successful in applying for and gaining these positions.

With experience and further training, patient care assistants can become enrolled nurses or registered nurses.


Health and Community Services


To be updated.

Nature of the Job

These staff also assist nurses with patient repositioning and handling, and undertake restocking duties. They also collect and deliver urgent supply items, medication, specimens and x-ray reports as required by the nursing, medical or allied health staff. Patient care assistants work under the direction and supervision of nurses and patient support services managers at all times as part of a team providing ancillary support to nursing, medical and allied health staff ensuring patients' health needs are met. According to their Enterprise Agreement, these assistants are known as Patient Care Assistants. However, depending on the service that employs them they may also be known as Hospital Services Assistants or Patient Support Assistants. In a hospital environment, patient care assistants are classified as patient support services employees.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Due to this being a largely service role, patient care assistants should naturally have a caring disposition. Also, being able to work in a team environment, being well organised and able to prioritise to competently handle the range of assigned duties is essential for these assistants.

They also need to be physically fit and are able to lift heavy objects. They also must have a commitment to the rights of elderly and disabled people to live dignified lives.

Typical Occupational Example

Cleanliness is obviously a very high priority in health care services due to the variety of illnesses being treated and the risk of cross infection, particularly when patients are at greater risk. Patient care assistants clean patient and clinical equipment, and clean and make all discharge and transfer beds to accommodate patient turnaround. A patient care assistant's other cleaning duties include maintaining the cleanliness of ward areas including showers, toilets, shower chairs, commodes and shower trolleys, the removal of rubbish and linen to collection points and attending to spillages as required.

Patient care assistants also ensure an adequate supply of non-pharmaceutical items, and restock intravenous trolleys and medical consumables to agreed levels as directed by nursing staff. Its really satisfying because you have the opportunity to help so many people but people don't realise the pressure that patient care assistants are under. The range of duties is extensive, and you must be able to follow instructions and work well as part of a team. If you haven't got great stamina then you may not be able to keep up with the demands of this job.'

Aside from those duties already mentioned, patient care assistants also; Collect food trolleys, distribute meals to patients, and collect trays and return food trolleys back to collection points. Prepare patients' environment for meal service. Serve patients' meals and beverages. Report damaged or malfunctioning furniture or equipment to the nurse in charge. Participate in ward and team meetings.- Liaise regularly with ward nurse coordinators and patient support services managers on matters relating to workload and equipment requirements.

Earning Potential

The starting salary for assistants is approximately $25,000 and this may go as high as $35,000. However, patient care assistants usually work weekends and shift work so may also incur shift loading rates.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online