• To learn about a study that was undertaken to explore the experiences of nursing students who also work as healthcare support workers (HCSWs)
• To recognise the challenges that nursing students may encounter when working as an HCSW
• To consider how those undertaking dual roles as nursing students and HCSWs could be supported to avoid issues such as role confusion
Background Preregistration nursing students frequently seek employment as healthcare support workers (HCSWs). However, little is known about their experience of alternating between these two roles.
Aim To explore the experiences of preregistration nursing students working as healthcare support workers.
Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three preregistration nursing students working part-time as HCSWs in the NHS. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.
Findings Analysis of the interview data produced the overarching theme of ‘walking the tightrope’. The overarching theme contained four subthemes: ‘preparing to get on the tightrope’; ‘balancing on the tightrope’; ‘having the stamina to stay on the tightrope’; and ‘preparing to get off the tightrope’.
Conclusion Nursing students gained experience and confidence while working as HCSWs, but were challenged by the limitations and demands of the role.
Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e11892Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Cameron S, Parkinson B (2023) Nursing students’ experiences of working as healthcare support workers. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e11892
Published online: 17 April 2023
Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now