Meet The Author: Spectrum Colleague Publishes Tales Of A Health Care Assistant


Spectrum colleague Nicky Guttridge has written a book about her experiences of being a health care assistant – encompassing the highs and lows of the role’s challenges, and its rewarding nature. Currently working as Spectrum’s Clinical Coder and Quality & Outcomes Framework Lead at HMP Preston, Nicky started her health care career as a nursing home carer, aged 18. Following a degree, she then worked for a nursing agency – where she began collating her stories after one horrible night shift.

‘I’m Just An HCA’ has been described as showing us “what it’s really like to care day after day (or night after night) for older people who may have lost the use of their faculties, and who may treat you as their best friend or their greatest threat, and how you can make lifelong friends – as well as a few enemies – along the way.” After two decades in the making, Nicky’s dream has now been published and is available to buy here on Amazon for £3.85 (Kindle edition) and £9.99 (paperback).

We caught up with Nicky for a chat about her book, health care, and what’s on the horizon;

When you started collating your stories/anecdotes, when and why did you decide to turn them into a book?

It was when I was sent to a large nursing home to help out with a night shift; it was made very clear by the carer I was appointed to work with, that she didn’t want to work with me. She did something that I was quite upset about, so I reported her. From the next shift onwards, I started making notes and I found it to be a good de-stressor.

What do you hope people take away from ‘I’m Just An HCA’ after reading it?

I hope that after reading my book, people will realise how hard it is being a health care worker. Hopefully, people will think about how they behave sometimes, when they have been waiting on the phone to GP surgeries or sat in A&E; it is not the staff’s fault.

What are your favourite things about working in health care?

My favourite thing when I was a HCA was always washing patients, as even on a confused dementia patient’s face, you could tell they felt happier and clean. My favourite thing today is home time (only joking!). I think I would say, being part of a really lovely team who do make a difference in the prison.

In your spare time, who or what do you enjoy reading?

When I do get the time to read, I enjoy memoirs from people in the medical field.

What are your plans for the future; another book in the pipeline?

Plans for the future are to carry on liking what I do within my role of Clinical Coder and maybe think about publishing another book with other health care stories from lots of staff, who would be willing to share their tales. Then, I don’t have to spend 20 more years getting it ready for publishing!


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