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Personal Skills

If you are a healthcare support worker (HCSW) you will already have a range of skills that make you good at your job. Developing your personal skills can help you to further identify your strengths and talents so that you can thrive within your current and future role as a HCSW.  

Developing these skills will also help you to face challenges and approach situations that may emerge in your day-to-day working life, making you more resilient and confident, and empowering you to deliver high-quality patient care.   

Personal skills encompass a wide variety of things and can include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Listening skills
  • The ability to manage challenging situations
  • The ability to manage stressful situations
  • Developing expertise in specific link roles or through motivational interviews
  • Problem solving
  • Understanding change and developing the skills to adapt.

Developing these skills can support you to build confidence and self-belief.  Enhancing your personal skills can also offer important development opportunities.  

Resources for developing your personal skills

Understanding your learning needs (opens PDF)

Everybody learns differently and it is important that you understand how you learn best. This will empower you to further identify your ongoing learning and development needs. This free questionnaire can help you to find out what your unique learning style is.

The Higher Development Award

The Higher Development Award is an overarching personal development programme which covers many of the personal skills listed above.

Underpinned by the Institute of Leadership and Management learning outcomes, this programme contextualises the principles of leadership, increases confidence and empowers people who wish to take the next step in their career as a HCSW. It also counts towards continued professional development (CPD) for those wishing to stay in their role.

The programme aims to develop overall confidence, self-belief and motivation, helping you to provide the best care you can to patients while enhancing your life skills and job satisfaction.

Find further useful information about the programme on the following websites:

Wellbeing and resilience

Resilience means feeling able to approach the potential challenges your role as a HCSW may bring, without these impacting on your life outside of work, and on your mental and physical wellbeing. It is important that you feel happy and confident within in your role. The links below can help support you with this.

Free online resilience toolkit for NHS employees and key workers (NHS Training Hub Cambridgeshire and Peterborough)

This free online resilience and wellbeing toolkit from We are Beyond includes simple techniques to increase your resilience and wellbeing whilst reducing your anxiety and stress.

Your Wellbeing and Resilience Toolkit (British Red Cross)

This tool can help you to learn how to increase your wellbeing, strengthen your resilience and feel more confident in your role.  

Emotional Resilience Toolkit (Mental Health Foundation)

This Emotional Resilience Toolkit provides practical guidance to promote the resilience of individuals and teams in companies as part of an integrated health and wellbeing programme.

Leadership opportunities

For HCSWs, leadership can mean many different things. It can be about feeling confident enough to raise any concerns you have and to escalate them through the right channels. It can mean drawing on your own experiences to buddy up with HCSWs that are new to the role and your organisation. It can also mean identifying ways to improve the care you are delivering and working with your colleagues to change and improve ways of working.

Edward Jenner programme

The Edward Jenner programme, developed by the NHS Leadership Academy, can help you to take the first step towards leadership in healthcare, supporting you to develop essential leadership skills.

The programme has been designed for everyone working in health and care. It’s highly practical and patient-focused and aims to support people to feel better-equipped to deal with the daily challenges of working in healthcare. Open to all, this programme leads to an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Leadership Foundations.


If you want to develop mentoring skills, ask your manager or education team, if you can become a ‘buddy’. Buddies help ‘new to care’ HCSWs to settle into their new environment and adjust to their role as a HCSW. Buddying can be a great opportunity if you are looking to develop within your role.

Development roles (‘Link’ roles)

As a HCSW, you may be passionate about a particular area of nursing practice. Becoming a lead, champion or ‘link’ for your team in this area can be a really good way of developing your skills and knowledge within your current role, whilst developing important leadership skills.   

Types of established link roles and existing resources to support are listed below.

Infection prevention and control (IPC)

Wellbeing guardian

Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

Workplace Health and Safety

Fluid and Nutrition champion

Numeracy champion

If you think you might want to become a HCSW lead in one of these areas, speak to your manager about the potential to get involved.

The Support Worker Voice

The Support Worker Voice is a free virtual network facilitated by Health Education England, set up specifically for the support worker workforce. It consists of regular meetings with an agenda driven by support workers.

The network gives you the chance to meet your counterparts from across the country so you can feel connected, share values and opinions, and most importantly have your voice heard. It also offers an opportunity to develop your personal skills alongside other support workers.

To register your interest and receive your invitation, send an email to us at supportworkervoice@hee.nhs.uk