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Ward Assistant

No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

Also known as Patient Service Assistant, Hospital Orderly, Hospital Porter and Orderly.

Ward assistants help allied health professionals and staff in hospitals and other healthcare establishments with non-medical duties including housekeeping, food service and transportation, and ward, patient and office support.

Ward assistants work rostered shifts which include night and weekend work. They are on their feet for most of the day.

In large hospitals, ward assistants may work in a particular department such as outpatients or maternity.

In smaller institutions, they may assist in several or all departments.


    Ward assistants may perform the following tasks:

  • make sure that an adequate supply of clean clothing and linen is available for patients and that soiled items are removed and cleaned
  • assist in maintaining stocks of linen and non-medical supplies
  • assist with lifting and turning patients and transporting them in wheelchairs or on movable beds
  • clean rooms such as bathrooms, showers, utility rooms and offices, and clean interior windows
  • mop and buff floors, vacuum carpets, remove rubbish and linen, and dust all areas
  • clean equipment in the pan room such as pan trolleys, buckets, pans, bowls, suction bottles and tubing, commodes, wheelchairs, seats and rinse trays
  • clean patients' lockers and tables
  • distribute and collect food trays, check food orders and replenish refrigerator supplies
  • accompany patients who are ready to be discharged to the central waiting area
  • transport equipment, X-rays and patient records between wards, departments and theatres
  • transport deceased patients from wards to the morgue
  • assist in emergencies and patient restraint


  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • able to lift heavy objects
  • caring and supportive attitude
  • respect for the rights of others
  • able to perform domestic duties efficiently
  • good communication skills
  • able to work as part of a team
  • able to follow instructions
Very Good Outlook
Very Good Outlook for this career!

Interest Area

Medical Helping/Community Service Influencing/Personal Contact


Porter - Hospital - collects and transports medical equipment and supplies such as clean linen and surgical tools. Porters perform various cleaning duties and do physical work such as shifting furniture, gas cylinders and other heavy objects.

Theatre Attendant/Orderly - sterilises instruments, and checks that operating theatre lights and machinery are working correctly. They transport patients to and from operating theatres and may assist with minor tasks during operations.


No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

You can work as a ward assistant without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job.

Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications.

You may like to consider a VOC qualification in health support services or health services assistance. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

You can also become a ward assistant through a traineeship in Health Support Services or Health Services Assistance.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, or have recognised, additional skills under the Health Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


Ward assistants work in public and private hospitals, aged-care facilities, hospices, some health clinics and after-care centres.

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Job Outlook for Ward Assistant Health Services Union

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