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Healthcare in Ireland: a rewarding profession

Working in healthcare is often described as a vocation rather than an occupation. The work of a healthcare professional is diverse, challenging and indeed very rewarding providing care to a range of vulnerable individuals. Healthcare is however changing in Ireland, with the HSE currently restructuring the primary care provision throughout the country with numerous opportunities in place for individuals hoping to work in a caring profession.

What is the role of a Health Care worker?

Care is defined as the provision of what is necessary to maintain and protect the well being, physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual needs of an individual.  Typically, healthcare workers provide care in the home, in a day centre or in a specialised hospital. As a health-care worker, you will work with people who require anything from minimal to maximal care support. A primary function of the healthcare professional is to engage with the individual, assess what care provision is needed and to agree a plan of care that can be delivered and assessed to ensure that the holistic wellbeing of the individual is maintained.

Who do Health Care Assistants work with?

As a health care professional you will work with a range of different populations. Here are some examples of where health care professionals may find themselves working.

Elderly: the World's elderly population (over 60 years) is currently 650 million. By 2050, the elderly population is forecast to reach 2 billion so there is a clear need for a specialist trained workforce to care for the elderly. Care of the elderly can include preserving positive aging through community based physical activity or social club initiatives, providing companionship and support in completing daily tasks (e.g. shopping, cooking). Care can also include more acute care requirements for individuals with physical or cognitive age related decline or pathology (e.g. dementia, stroke etc).

Care of the elderly usually includes working as part of a multidisciplinary team including a geriatrician, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist and nursing staff. Communication, rapport and support for the older person and their family is required to ensure that respect, dignity and wellbeing are maintained throughout the life-span.

Children & Adolescents: children or adolescents can have different needs such as intellectual or physical disability, chronic or acute illness or family difficulties that may require care and support in specialised care facilities or in their community environment. Care can vary from working with a family to assist in the daily development, transfer and care of a child to providing vocational and community based assistance in optimising independence socially and emotionally.

Adults: people over the age of 18 with additional needs require care and support in community settings. For example, people with severe illness, intellectual disability, mental health disorders or adults dealing with sudden bereavement may need additional services to support them in their lives.

Relevant education to work in a care role:

At Portobello Institute, we deliver a range of relevant training courses to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver person-centered, individualised care in across a number of settings.  Our Health Department prides itself on delivering employment based education for students in a range of disciplines. Our students are trained in the professional conduct, theory and practical requirement to safely provide care and support alongside other health care professionals.

Students enrol on health courses at Portobello Institute with multiple end goals in mind. Many students commit to the nursing certificate course with a view to applying for further education and will continue on with their education to complete a degree in nursing. Others complete our health courses with a view to enter straight into employment at entry level across healthcare.

The Speech and Language Therapy Assistant course trains students in the fundamentals of speech and language development, speech disorders, anatomy and function of the throat to equip learners to work in providing care and assistance to therapists working in a range of settings.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant course trains students with the skills and techniques to assist a client in the activities of living in order to enhance their quality of life, working with people of all ages and situations with a range of conditions.

The Physiotherapy Assistant course trains students to work with a physiotherapist and help assess and treat people whose movement is restricted by injury, illness or age. They will learn to use techniques to help with injuries and disorders of muscles and joints.

People who work in healthcare make a genuine and real difference to so many people on a daily basis. The health courses provided by Portobello Institute equip learners with the important skills to make a real difference to someone’s life. To discuss your needs and to start your rewarding journey, contact our health academic advisor George Boylan on 01 8920000 or


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