Health and Social Care graduate, Hannah talks about her student and university experience, her valuable work experience in a local care home and why health and social care is so important to society.
What inspired you to choose a degree in Health and Social Care?
I already studied the course at my local college and I wanted to continue to study this at university as the more knowledge and skills that I had, the more that I could apply these within the workplace. Another thing that inspired me was the content of the course. In the third year I saw that I could study a topic of my choice which I was looking forward to as I always wanted to do my own research in a topic that was close to my heart.
How did the course develop you?
The course has developed my confidence and experience within the Health and Social Care sector as I feel that now I can get involved in class discussions. Before, I did not feel like I had enough knowledge in certain topics. However, as I have gone through the course I feel that I know more information than before and now feel confident to take part in class discussions because the more experience I have had at my placement, the more I could link this to the course: for example in a module called Understanding Health and Social Care Organisations (and work experience) I could take part in class discussions as I could talk about what my organisation offers to people and the types of care that they receive.
Talk about your work experience?
As part of my work experience I was working at a care home that was close to where I lived and I had several responsibilities that I needed to fulfill.
I would be serving meals and understanding elderly dietary requirements in order to understand what the residents need in order to maintain a healthy weight and provide the body with the correct nutrients.
I also had to update relevant logbooks to ensure that all staff are aware of what the resident has had to eat and drink throughout the day. Another responsibility I had was finding out about the residents condition so that I had a wider understanding about how their condition impacts on the individual’s dietary requirements within the day for example as a resident is on a soft food diet, I need to see what foods are soft and easy for them to chew and swallow. I also communicating with staff and residents by sharing ideas in a collaborative way so that I can draw on the expertise of other team members and considerately distribute information that may be sensitive for the resident.
I was supported by mentors as they helped me to set goals and provided me with support and encouragement when it came to my work experience role as members of staff told me what I needed to do by giving me advice when I was not sure about something and they would often give me feedback about what I could do when it came to improving on tasks that I may not have done very well on.
With this encouragement I would then go away to do an example of the task with a member of staff or at home so that when I next came back to the care home I could then do the task properly without any assistance from a member of staff. This experience helped me to get ready for a career in Health and Social Care as it allowed me to improve on the skills and knowledge that I needed and helped me to understand why the Health and Social Care sector is very important.
I have gained more understanding about what dietary requirements people have and how this can affect what they eat and cannot eat as after I had finished my postgraduate degree I am thinking of a role as a dietitian as I want to explore how diet choices can affect health and wellbeing in either a positive or negative way.
What have been some of your highlights?
My highlights from university has been the support from lecturers as their expertise and knowledge has really helped me to gain a wider understanding about the module that they have taught and what I need to do when it comes to the assignments. Last year I was struggling on how to stick to a certain amount of words that I needed to include within my assignments, however, after talking to one of my lecturers they helped me to breakdown the assignment in different parts by focusing on each learning objective so that I could understand what I needed to include within each paragraph of my assignment. This support helped me in future assignments as I have understood how I needed to breakdown the assignment in order for it to flow and make sense when it comes to the learning objectives that I need to meet.
Another highlight from the course has been inspiring speakers that have come in and talked to us about a range of professional issues for example in one of the modules from last year we had a guest speaker that came in and talked about human factors and patient safety which helped me to understand why human factors and patient safety are important when it comes to Health and Social Care.
This helped me directly with my assignment as I could talk about human factors within my project and say what human factors were and what I would need to do in order to ensure that patient safety was maintained at all times, therefore with this speaker coming in allowed me to understand the different types of human factors and take part in the simulations that the guest speaker asked us to take part in.
How was your broader university experience?
At first I was really worried about making new friends on the course as I did not know anyone at the university, however, as soon as I arrived on the course I made friends straight away which helped me to settle onto the course as they showed me around the university which made me feel extremely welcome and helped me to settle in very quickly as I felt confident that if I did not know where I was going they would show me to the room that I needed.
Why is Health and Social Care important for society?
Health and Social Care is important for society as the main aim is to help people live their lives in a happy and healthy manner despite their disabilities either physically or emotionally. Health and Social Care is also important for society as we must be able to provide help to those in need, such as individuals who are experiencing mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities as well as vulnerable adults and children.
Therefore it is important that in all communities local councils provide information and advice to people, can assess their care needs, arrange short-term support, safeguard vulnerable individuals and allow access to a wide range of different care services in order to fulfill their obligations and needs because without Health and Social Care services people will not be able to access these and therefore will not be able to get the care that they need.