Becoming a Support Worker: Let the adventure begin!

Reflection on my role as Support Worker 

Client H is a delightful 8 year old. 

Client H loves drawing, writing stories, reading and gymnastics amongst lots of other activities and interests. H lives with their parents, younger sister and Therapy dog. In September 2014 at 10 months old, Client H contracted Bacterial Meningitis and became critically ill. As a result of the septicaemia ravaging H's body they underwent a quadruple limb amputation. With an unwavering determination and unextinguishable spirit H has faced every challenge they has been presented with. H has amazing parents and a wonderful network of family and friends who have been there every step of the way and help them to achieve their motto of “if you can believe you can achieve”.

My journey with H and their family began in January 2022. H's Case Manager, Caroline Lewis had encouraged the family to recruit a support worker to help support them with H’s activities of daily living, to take H to therapies and clubs and support parents with day trips and holidays. Mum, has subsequently told me that initially she was apprehensive about having a support worker but soon saw the benefit and three months in finds it much easier to leave H's care to me.

I used to be a Paediatric Nurse at Great Ormond Street, Kingston NHS Trust and a CLIC Sargent at Bath RUH. I currently work as a 1;1 Teaching Assistant at a Primary school. Twice a week I work with H for half an hour at lunch time whilst their 1;1 TA has lunch. I happened upon the advert for the support worker role by chance and leapt at the chance to apply. The bond that H and I had developed at school was instrumental in my application being successful and I could not have been happier to secure this wonderful job.

Right from start I have received fantastic support from Circle Case Management's Case Manager Caroline and all of the Circle Management team. The other members of the MDT have been incredible supportive and have put together an extensive training programme for me. H and their family have welcomed me into their home and lives with open arms. All of this input has ensured that the first 3 months of this role have been enjoyable and developed smoothly.

I support H on a Monday, Wednesday evening and on Saturdays. I currently take them to their swimming lesson, Hippotherapy session, cheerleading and Stagecoach. Mum often accompanies us to Hippotherapy. When we are not at clubs, we enjoy playing imaginary games, doing arts and crafts and baking amongst other activities. Where possible I do H's stretches as per their physiotherapy programme. On a Monday I put H to bed. Other responsibilities have included taking H to a soft play party, a day trip to the farm and in London. I assist with toilet visits and all other hygiene needs as required. I have been trained to put on H's liners and prosthetic legs and arm. I have received manual handling training specific for H's needs. On trips out I drive the family car and use the hoist to transfer the wheelchair into the car.


Excitement was my predominant feeling as I began this new role. I had been searching for a job that would use all the skills I had acquired in my career and would be rewarding and fulfilling. Prior to my first shift a MDT meeting was held to discuss my training needs. I was joined by the Case Manager, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist and family. They put together a thorough training programme for me and reassured me that I wasn’t expected to run before I could walk. After this meeting I felt calm and any apprehensions I had were dissipated.

My first shift was at the house and straight away I felt welcomed by H, their parents and sister. The dog wasn’t too sure but has certainly warmed up to me now. I wasn’t nervous about working in someone else’s house as I spent most of my nursing career as a community nurse and this experience has certainly helped me in this role. It is important to recognise that you are caring for someone on their territory and respecting their rules and routines is paramount. H's parents have been very through in explaining routines, equipment needed and demonstrating use of liners and prosthetic legs.

One thing that I feel is important in a role like this is having a sense of autonomy and the parents feel comfortable to allow the support worker to take on the role of carer when they are on duty. H's parents have been brilliant in allowing me to have autonomy where needed but mainly I think we work as a great team. I was initially worried about correct placement of liners and prosthetics but everyone has been patient with me which has helped.

This new role has enabled me to gain an insight at some of the difficulties that an individual with a disability has to face. From able-bodied individuals taking up disabled parking spaces to how inaccessible London Underground is, I have been shocked that in 2022 an individual with a disability is still facing these difficulties. I have found myself feeling quite cross at times and would like at some point to convert this feeling into positive energy and campaign for change in this area.

Two incidents have happened which made me worried but again with wonderful support I navigated through them. The first was when the wire on one of H's prosthetics broke off. I felt dreadful I had broken it. However a phone call to mum who informed me that this keeps happening and all was well again. The second event involved H falling off their garden swing. It was a communication error in which I was slowing down the swing and didn’t tell H to stay lying down and H sat up and fell off. A feeling of panic overwhelmed me. It was my job to keep H safe and they had fallen. A trip to A and E revealed a sprained shoulder. An accident form was completed and lessons were learnt.

Despite these incidents it is a joy to work with H and their family. It is incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. It is a wonderful feeling to have found such a perfect job for me.


From my perspective to date working with H has been a very positive experience. I believe we have developed a good bond. H is a very determined young person who likes to be independent so will ask when they need help with something and is very clear when they don’t. H appeared a little unsettled in the first month that I started working with them. This was mostly apparent when we were at clubs especially Stagecoach. H didn’t want to join and repeatedly asked for the toilet when perhaps they didn’t need to go. I believe H was finding their way with a new person caring for them and now is not displaying any of these anxieties at clubs. I spoke to Mum about whether H was unsettled with a new carer and Mum didn’t feel like this was the case but certainly H appears much more settled now.

Reflecting upon the swing accident has been helpful. Lack of effective communication was paramount and I have learnt to be more precise with my commands so that this does not happen again. H has found some of the health and safety rules I have to follow difficult at times. One example at swimming last week H shuffled along the wall of the swimming pool. There is a drop the other side and it is obviously wet. When I asked H not to do that they said that it was fine and carried on doing the move. Mum and I talked to H that when they are with me there are health and safety policies in place and it is important H listens to me regarding these.


I believe that the following factors have been influential in enabling a smooth start in this new role; H has adapted well to have a support worker and we have developed a good bond, H's parents are approachable and supportive and we work together well as a team. We both practice a child centred approach and have open and honest communication meaning that care delivered to H is holistic and client centred. The multi-disciplinary team have been incredibly supportive. I have been having very regular supervision meetings with Case Manager Caroline and have been able to discuss any issues that have arisen. Physiotherapist and OT have been instrumental in providing me with up to date training. They have been supportive and non-judgmental and have made learning new skills enjoyable and informative.


This reflection is presented as my view on my new role as a support worker for H. There has been new skills to learn, routines to become familiar with and a new client and family to get to know and support. With the support of H's parents and the MDT team the first 3 months have been informative, enjoyable and rewarding. On our first day together I told H that it was the first day of the start of our adventure together. We really are having a great adventure and I can't wait to continue this journey with H and their family.

Support Worker C. 

Using Gibbs model of reflection (1988)

Posted on July 22nd 2022

Loading... Updating page...