3414 Other assisting occupations in support of health services

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Lead statement

This unit group includes workers who provide services and assistance to health care professionals and other health care staff. They are employed in hospitals, medical clinics, offices of health care professionals, nursing homes, optical retail stores and laboratories, pharmacies and medical pathology laboratories.

Example Titles

  • autopsy assistant
  • blood donor clinic assistant
  • cast room technician
  • chiropractic assistant
  • clinical laboratory helper
  • morgue attendant
  • ophthalmic laboratory technician – retail
  • ophthalmic lens grinder
  • optical laboratory assistant
  • optometrist assistant
  • orthopedic technologist
  • rehabilitation assistant
  • sterile processing technician
  • therapist assistant – medical

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

Orthopedic technologists

  • Assist orthopedic surgeons in the treatment of orthopedic diseases and injuries by applying and adjusting casts, splints, bandages and other orthopedic devices
  • Assist in the application, maintenance and adjustment of traction equipment
  • Clean and dress wounds
  • Remove casts, sutures, staples and pins
  • Instruct patients and their families and other health care professionals with respect to orthopedic matters.

Rehabilitation assistants

  • Prepare and maintain equipment and supplies
  • Assist in activities for the rehabilitation of patients as directed by health care professionals
  • May perform routine office functions.

Optical/ophthalmic laboratory technicians and assistants

  • Operate laboratory equipment to grind, cut, polish and edge lenses for eyeglasses according to prescriptions received and fit lenses into frames
  • Make minor repairs for customers such as replacing frame screws or straightening frames
  • Maintain and repair optical laboratory equipment or machinery.

Pharmacy aides

  • Help pharmacists and other pharmacy staff with packaging and labelling of pharmaceutical products
  • May help in maintaining prescription records and inventories of medications and pharmaceutical products.

Sterile processing technicians

  • Operate and maintain sterilization equipment such as instrument washers, sonic sinks, cart washers and steam autoclaves to clean and disinfect trays, carts, linens, supplies, instrumentation and equipment for re-use according to standardized safety practices
  • Reassemble equipment and assemble packs of sterile supplies and instruments for delivery to hospital departments.

Blood donor clinic assistants

  • Set up and dismantle equipment
  • Prepare and maintain cleanliness of collection areas
  • Maintain supplies
  • Monitor donors throughout procedure and assist with post-donation care and donor reaction care as assigned under the supervision of a registered nurse
  • Record information on donors
  • Label and process donated blood.

Morgue attendants

  • Assist pathologists at autopsies by laying out surgical instruments
  • Prepare solutions for preservation of specimens
  • Transfer bodies from morgue to examining table
  • Remove organs and tissue specimens, as instructed by attending pathologist, and placing them in preservative solutions
  • Clean and sew up bodies for release to funeral home.

Employment requirements

  • Orthopedic technologists usually require completion of secondary school and several months of on-the-job training or a college orthopedic technologist program.
  • Registration with the Canadian Society of Orthopaedic Technologists is available and may be required by employers.
  • Health care courses or short-term college programs related to the work of medical therapy assistants, such as recreational therapy programs, are available and may be required by employers.
  • Pharmacy aides require completion of secondary school and several months of on-the-job training.
  • Sterile processing technicians require completion of secondary school and a six- to nine-month sterile processing college program.
  • Completion of secondary school and several months of on-the-job training are usually required for other assisting occupations in this unit group.

Exclusions