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The Caring Support Blog

All About Clinical Support Aides (CSA)

November 15, 2022

Back in the day, people used to think that the only way to build a career in healthcare was becoming a physician or a nurse. These days, nothing can be further from the truth. There are numerous careers in the healthcare field that can give people the opportunity to work at a hospital or any other healthcare facility and help patients, without having to invest long years in medical school. Clinical Support Aide, or CSA for short, is one of those careers and in this article, we tell you all about it.

What Does a Clinical Support Aide (CSA) Do?

Even if you've never heard this title before, you probably know what a clinical support aide does, since the role name is pretty self-explanatory. However, we want to offer you a formal definition:

Clinical support aides (also known as clinical support workers or healthcare aides) work in hospitals, medical clinics, doctors’ offices, laboratories, and other healthcare settings where they provide support to healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, midwives, and others. Their work includes tasks such as preparing patients for examinations or procedures, explaining treatments to patients or family members, and updating patient records.

The work performed by CSAs allows healthcare professionals to deliver high-quality care to patients and their families since they are usually involved in the type of care that guarantees the comfort and general well-being of the people they treat.

It should be noted that by providing direct care to patients, CSAs have the opportunity to develop many clinical skills, as well as empathy and compassion, that can help them move on to other roles such as nursing, physiotherapy, or midwifery if they chose to do so. Another option for CSAs is to grow in their career paths to the point where they won't need direct supervision and may even start supervising other clinical support staff.

Types of Clinical Support Aides (CSA) Roles

Considering that clinical support aides help different healthcare professionals in a multitude of specialties, we can say that there are many types of CSAs, depending on their knowledge and skills:

  1. Healthcare Assistant - This is another way to refer to clinical support aides. It could be considered the generic term to name the healthcare workers who support healthcare professionals in the performance of their duties.
  2. Maternity Support Worker - These workers help midwives, nurses, pediatricians, and other specialists in caring for mothers in labour and newborn babies.
  3. Occupational Therapy Support Worker - These CSAs are dedicated to assisting occupational therapists in helping those who struggle with day-to-day activities, making it possible for them to live full and independent lives.
  4. Physiotherapy Assistant - PTAs work under the direct supervision of physiotherapists (PTs) to treat patients with physical impairments.
  5. Radiography Assistant or Imaging Support Assistant - These workers assist radiographers in operating x-rays and any other imaging device used to diagnose diseases or health conditions.
  6. Speech and Language Therapy Assistant - These healthcare workers help speech pathologists or speech therapists treat speech and language impairments in children and adults so they can communicate better with others.
  7. Dental Support Worker - Dentists need help too, which is why Dental Support Workers assist them in treating patients and diagnosing dental problems that may be affecting patients' ability to eat or speak.

Other CSAs don't provide assistance to a specific healthcare professional and instead perform a specific and specialized task. These are some of them:

  1. Newborn Hearing Screener, a role that involves screening babies to help identify those who have permanent hearing loss.
  2. Phlebotomist, a role dedicated to retrieving blood samples and other specimens, as well as preparing specimens for laboratory testing.
  3. Cardiographer, a role that specializes in assessing and monitoring patients' hearts and blood vessels.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Clinical Support Aide

As you can see, clinical support aides can work in different areas of medicine, healthcare and wellness, assisting professionals and supporting patients. However, their roles are not as different as you might think, as the basic duties and responsibilities of clinical support aides tend to be the same regardless of the field where they work.

Here are the main duties and responsibilities of clinical support aides:

  1. Provide support to doctors, nurses, and lab techs with diverse patient-facing or support tasks.
  2. Performing limited patient care tasks supervised by healthcare professionals.
  3. Setting up exam rooms ahead of medical examinations.
  4. Recording patient medical history after examinations or treatments.
  5. Collecting blood and urine samples from patients for analysis.
  6. Assisting healthcare professionals s in completing diagnostic testing.
  7. Making sure doctors have the equipment, supplies and paperwork they need.
  8. Providing additional support to doctors, nurses, and lab techs.
  9. Other duties and responsibilities as needed to support the workflow in hospitals, clinics or lab settings.
Clinical Support Aide (CSA)

Clinical Support Aide Salary in Canada

Across Canada, on average, clinical support aides (CSA) earn a salary of $50,000 per year or $24 dollars per hour. However, according to multiple sources, entry-level clinical support aides could start much lower, at about $45,000 per year.

CSA salaries depend on the setting where each aide works (hospital, or LTC, for instance), the province and city, and the skills and experience they have to offer.

How to Become a Clinical Support Aide in Canada?

To become a Clinical Support Aide in Canada, there are certain requirements and qualifications candidates need to have. Of course, it is nothing compared to nurses, doctors, or other specialists, but there are certain steps to follow:

  1. High school diploma, GED certificate, or General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), depending on where you live.
  2. Vocational certificate in medical assisting, preferably from a community college or vocational school. Most certificate programs can be completed in about a year.
  3. Specimen collection training and/or experience collecting, handling, and processing specimens, if possible.
  4. Experience in a medical setting, which can be from a formal job, volunteering or even from caring for a family member.
  5. Strong communication and organizational skills.
  6. Ability to follow procedures and instructions carefully.

We hope this article helps you understand the diverse and rich nature of the Clinical Support Aide (CSA) role in healthcare. Hopefully, all of this information will serve you to pursue a career in this field or recommend it to a friend.

In any case, make sure to remember that once you are ready to move forward with your career, you can find employment on our Caring Support platform, where we cater to this and many other roles. Discover all of the possibilities healthcare has to offer by joining the platform today.

And for questions or comments about Clinical Support Aides (CSAs)or any other role in the field of healthcare, leave a message below. We're here to help.

Thank you for reading!

About The Author
Laura Woodman
Content Marketing Specialist

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