There is a professional figure around which confusion is often generated and that is the health assistant. Few know this profession in detail, perhaps because it is too often confused with that of the nurse. There is a very specific path to becoming a healthcare assistant.
Before we see who healthcare assistant is and what they do, let’s take a step back. This professional figure appeared in Italy after the First World War, thanks to the collaboration between the Italian Red Cross and the American Red Cross.
At the regulatory level, however, we must wait until the nineties for a law to be created that regularizes this health profession. Specifically, we are talking about Ministerial Decree 69/1997 which provides the following definition:
“The health worker, in possession of a university qualifying diploma and enrollment in the professional register, is responsible for prevention, promotion and health education.”
As you can see, to work in the field of health care, a degree is an essential requirement.
Duties Of The Health Assistant
After this premise on the regularization of the figure of health assistant in Italy, let’s begin to find out what his duties are and what he does specifically. To get a clear idea of what a healthcare assistant does, here is a detailed list of tasks they perform regularly:
- identifies health needs based on epidemiological and socio-cultural data, identifies risk factors, and manages the implementation of the interventions within its competence
- designs, plans, implements, and evaluates health education interventions in all phases of a person’s life
- collaborates in the definition of communication methodologies, programs, and campaigns for the promotion and health education in families and schools
- participates in the training and updating of health and school workers regarding the methodology of health education
- intervenes in family planning and health, sexual and socio-affective education programs
- monitors, as far as it is concerned, the hygienic-sanitary conditions in families, schools, and assisted communities and controls the hygiene of the environment and the risk of infection
- responds to the competent authorities by proposing operational solutions
- participates in initiatives for evaluating and improving the quality of health services performance by noting the levels of satisfaction by users
- participates in organized district and hospital activities, as an inter-professional link
- carries out didactic training and consultancy activities in services, where professional competence is required
- it acts both individually and in collaboration with other health, social, and school operators, making use, if necessary, of support staff
In addition, the healthcare assistant can perform venous blood sampling for the analysis of preventive human microbiology in the context of epidemiological studies on infectious, bacterial, and viral diseases.
Who Is Part Of The Healthcare Staff?
Employees enrolled in their respective professional associations, where they exist, who carry out activities directly related to the protection of health belong to the health role; the employees not included in the health role belong to the professional role and, in the exercise of their activity, they take on.
The recipients of the vaccination obligations, to which article 4 of the aforementioned regulation is dedicated, are the operators of the health professions and health professionals who carry out their activities in public and private health, socio-health, and social assistance structures, in pharmacies.
Who are the non-medical health professionals?
They are technicians of radiology, laboratory, pathological anatomy, and physiotherapy; biologists, physicists, pharmacists, speech therapists, dieticians, orthoptists, psychologists, and audiometrists.