#CrisisCareersHeroes: Looking after us

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Graphic depicting today's fields of work

This week, we are celebrating the amazing #CrisisCareersHeroes who are helping us all get through the coronavirus outbreak. At Success at School, we want to thank all of these amazing people from the bottom of our hearts and help you learn more about the things they do in their jobs.

Today we’re focusing on the workers who are looking after usCheck out our main page to see more articles.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

NHS staff

NHS logo

What do they do?

NHS staff include ambulance control workers, anaesthetists, doctors, GPs, hospital porters, nurses, paramedics and other first responders, receptionists and so many others that sadly we can’t list them all here.

Our incredible NHS staff are helping as many people as possible during the coronavirus outbreak. Many staff look after coronavirus patients while others continue their normal duties during the crisis to ensure that patients with other conditions are looked after.

Doctors and nurses look after patients in hospital including those who are seriously ill in intensive care units. Paramedics attend incidents, treating patients on the scene and bringing them into hospital where necessary. GP surgeries are the first port-of-call for most people, dealing with minor health complaints and referring patients on to hospital for further investigation where necessary.

How has coronavirus impacted NHS staff?

The coronavirus crisis has required an unprecedented gear-shift from NHS workers. The entire health service has had to change the way it works, with patients receiving phone appointments at GP surgeries and restrictions tightening at hospitals to ensure staff and patient safety.

Nurse in office

To become a nurse, you need a degree or to

take an apprenticeship

Self-isolation due to suspected coronavirus has also led to pressures on staff numbers and the NHS has invited recently retired staff to return to work and recruited new staff in admin and other roles.

NHS staff are risking infection to look after us. Many are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) – including gloves, facemasks and other gear depending on the nature of the job – although there have been shortages which mean that some staff have not had access to what they need. The government is also starting to test frontline NHS staff for the virus to see who has already had covid-19 and understand better who can safely treat patients.

Some staff will work in entirely new workplaces. A massive effort is being made to construct a series of new NHS Nightingale Hospitals especially for covid-19 cases. The first of these to open was developed at the ExCel exhibition centre in East London.

How do I work for the NHS?

Here are some articles where you can learn more about these careers and find out how you can pursue them:

How to become series:

Other articles:

Care workers

Care worker graphic

What do they do?

Care workers help people live more independently – that could mean helping with social and physical activities, booking appointments or helping shower and dress clients. Care workers work with lots of different people including adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, substance misuse issues, mental health problems and older people. Many work in people’s homes or in residential centres while others travel to people's homes in the community. Despite their vitally important work, care workers are relatively low-paid.

How has their job been affected by coronavirus?

Along with NHS staff such as nurses and doctors, many care workers are at the frontline of the crisis. Tragically, official data suggests that there have been coronavirus cases at over 2,000 care homes and estimates suggest that thousands of care-home residents have died.

Care workers are looking after older and vulnerable people inside care homes and throughout the community. Their job requires them to have close contact with numerous patients but many lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). The government is working on a plan to protect social care staff and those receiving care after urgent pleas for help from those within the care sector.

Job stats:

  • Care worker and elderly woman

    Care workers don't need specialist

    qualifications but they do need many skills

    Pay: £17,000 (often hourly paid, carers who do home visits are generally not paid for travel time).
  • Average working week: 35-40 hours per week.
  • Types of shift: Daytimes, evenings, nights, weekend.
  • Demand: Expected to grow significantly over the coming years.

How can I become a care worker?

Aside from good GCSEs in English and maths, extra qualifications aren’t needed to become a care worker and you can work towards professional qualifications on the job. You could apply for an apprenticeship or a college course if you would like to gain qualifications to help you in your role. Although qualifications aren't required, you will need many skills and we've listed some of them here.


Pharmacists work in NHS pharmacies within hospitals and GP surgeries as well as in private high-street pharmacies from big chains such as Boots and independent companies.

Pharmacist graphic

What do they do?

A pharmacy is a place where medicines are stored, prepared and given out to patients according to their doctor’s instructions. Pharmacists are in charge of running pharmacies and they are supported by a range of staff such as pharmacy technicians. Under the supervision of the pharmacist, the team prepare prescriptions, mixing ingredients to make medication where necessary. They also assist customers and sell over-the-counter medication.

How has their job been affected by coronavirus?

Pharmacists take a risk by dealing with members of the public in their everyday work, exposing them to greater risk of infection. They are also at risk of customers turning up for medication with coronavirus symptoms, against government advice. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society advises that pharmacies set aside an isolation room in case they need to isolate a member of staff.

Job stats:

  • Pay: £37,000.
  • Average working week: 37.5 to 40 hours.
  • Types of shift: Daytime, evenings, weekends.
  • Demand: The number of jobs is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.

How can I become a pharmacist?

Pharmacist and customer

Pharmacists help customers with over-the-

counter drugs and mix specialist medicines

Pharmacists need to do a four-year MPharm master’s degree which is offered by universities across the UK. To qualify for an MPharm degree you will need 3 A-B grade A-levels in chemistry and biology, maths or physics along with 5 grade 4+ GCSEs.

Once you have completed your degree, you will need to complete a 1-year pre-registration course at community or hospital pharmacy and gain registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

You can become a pharmacy assistant through direct application to a pharmacy advertising vacancies or take an apprenticeship. You may be able to take further study to become a pharmacist.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

Check out our main #CrisisCareersHeroes page to learn about other workers who are helping us get through the coronavirus crisis.

Images: Graphics by Macrovector, NHS, Freepik via Freepik, nurse and pharmacist via Wikimedia Commons, care worker via Freepik



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