Hospital porter

A hospital porter


Hospital porters are professional healthcare assistants who transport people on stretchers around the hospital site, as well as and items.

Hospital porters typically do the following:

  • move patients, in beds or wheelchairs, between wards and departments
  • deliver clean linen to wards
  • collect waste, some of which may be hazardous
  • move furniture and medical equipment safely
  • transfer files, specimen samples and pharmacy boxes to different parts of the hospital
  • move deceased patients to the mortuary
  • deal with post and parcels

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to hospital porter:

hospital stretcher carrier
hospital portering staff member
general porter
hospital portering service provider
stretcher bearer
stretcher carrier
hospital portering
hospital stretcher bearer
general hospital porter

Minimum qualifications

Hospital porters do not have to complete formal training. They usually receive on-the-job training from more experienced workers. Most hospitals hire porters who possess a particular set of skills. Porters are expected to efficiently communicate with patients, nurses and doctors, as well as have high levels of energy and stamina. Porters must be quick on their feet and capable of solving a wide variety of problems as efficiently and quickly as possible.

For some roles, a driver’s license may be required.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Hospital porter is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Hospital porter career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to hospital porter.

emergency medical dispatcher
healthcare assistant
nurse assistant
patient transport services driver
sterile services technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of hospital porter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of hospital porter with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

paramedic in emergency responses
emergency ambulance driver
dental hygienist
physiotherapy assistant
dental technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of hospital porter.

  • Operational tactics for emergency responses: The characteristics and proceedings of operational tactics for emergency responses especially at major incidents and catastrophes.
  • Disorders of vital functions: The characteristics and disorders of vital functions, consciousness and unconsciousness, respiratory and circulatory system, bleeding, shocks, artificial respiration.
  • Transportation methods: Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and optimal work strategies.
  • Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.
  • Clinical science: The research and development of the techniques and equipment used by medical staff to prevent, diagnose and treat illness.
  • Principles of paramedic practice: The theories and science that underpin the theory and principles of paramedic practice.
  • Emergency cases: The emergency cases with different disease patterns and syndromes, the special emergency cases and their appropriate interventions.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of hospital porter.

  • Transport patient to medical facility: Assist in lifting and carrying of the patient into the emergency vehicle for transport, and into the receiving medical facility on arrival.
  • Operate specialised equipment in emergency: Operate equipment such as external defibrillators and bag-valve mask resuscitators, spinal and traction splints and intravenous drips in advanced life-support environments, taking electrocardiograms when required.
  • Respond to changing situations in health care: Cope with pressure and respond appropriately and in time to unexpected and rapidly changing situations in healthcare.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Adapt to emergency care environment: Adapt practice to ensure that needs of patients within the emergency and urgent care environment are met.
  • Select hazard control: Perform appropriate selection of hazard control measures and risk management
  • Deal with emergency care situations: Assess the signs and be well-prepared for a situation that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health, security, property or environment.
  • Monitor patient’s vital signs: Monitor and analyse vital signs of heart, respiration, and blood pressure.
  • Communicate effectively in healthcare: Communicate effectively with patients, families and other caregivers, health care professionals, and community partners.
  • Follow clinical guidelines: Follow agreed protocols and guidelines in support of healthcare practice which are provided by healthcare institutions, professional associations, or authorities and also scientific organisations.
  • Manage major incidents: Take immediate action to respond to major incidents that affect the safety and security of individuals in private or public places such as road accidents.
  • Conduct physical examination in emergency: Conduct a thorough and detailed physical examination of the patient in emergency situations, using assessment skills such as observation, palpation, and auscultation and formulating diagnoses across all age ranges, followed by the calling for specialist when available.
  • Observe confidentiality: Observe the set of rules establishing the nondisclosure of information except to another authorised person.
  • Transfer patients: Use the most appropriate techniques to handle and move patients in and out of an ambulance, hospital bed, wheelchair, etc.
  • Comply with quality standards related to healthcare practice: Apply quality standards related to risk management, safety procedures, patients feedback, screening and medical devices in daily practice, as they are recognized by the national professional associations and authorities.
  • Immobilise patients for emergency intervention: Immobilise the patient using a backboard or other spinal immobilisation device, preparing the patient for stretcher and ambulance transport.
  • Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
  • Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
  • Employ specific paramedic techniques in out-of-hospital care: Use appropriate techniques in paramedical practice such as IV therapy, drug administration, cardioversion, and emergency surgical techniques.
  • Adhere to organisational guidelines: Adhere to organisational or department specific standards and guidelines. Understand the motives of the organisation and the common agreements and act accordingly.
  • Assess nature of injury in emergency: Assess the nature and extent of injury or illness to establish and prioritise a plan for medical treatment.
  • Interact with healthcare users: Communicate with clients and their carer’s, with the patient’s permission, to keep them informed about the clients’ and patients’ progress and safeguarding confidentiality.
  • Ensure safety of healthcare users: Make sure that healthcare users are being treated professionally, effectively and safe from harm, adapting techniques and procedures according to the person’s needs, abilities or the prevailing conditions.
  • Tolerate stress: Maintain a temperate mental state and effective performance under pressure or adverse circumstances.
  • Apply context specific clinical competences: Apply professional and evidence based assessment, goal setting, delivery of intervention and evaluation of clients, taking into account the developmental and contextual history of the clients, within one`s own scope of practice.
  • Position patients undergoing interventions: Position or immobilise patients correctly for safe and effective interventions.
  • Apply good clinical practices: Ensure compliance with and application of the ethical and scientific quality standards used to conduct, record and report clinical trials that involve human participation, at an international level.
  • Operate an emergency communication system: Efficiently operate common communication systems used in emergencies, such as base station mobile transmitters and receivers, portable transmitters and receivers, repeaters, cellular phones, pagers, automated vehicle locators, and satellite phones as required.
  • Prioritise emergencies: Determine the level of risk of an emergency situation and balance the dispatch of ambulances to emergency situations accordingly.
  • Accept own accountability: Accept accountability for one`s own professional activities and recognise the limits of one`s own scope of practice and competencies.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hospital porter. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hospital porter. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Assist patients with rehabilitation: Assist to develop and restore patient`s body systems, their neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, helping them in the rehabilitation process.
  • Provide basic support to patients: Support patients and citizens with activities of daily living, such as hygiene, comfort, mobilisation and feeding needs.
  • Answer patients’ questions: Respond in a friendly and professional manner to all inquiries from current or potential patients, and their families, of a healthcare establishment.
  • Deal with patients’ anxiety: Recognise and handle the fears of patients undergoing a dental treatment.
  • Identify patients’ behaviours: Analyse and identify patient`s functional and dysfunctional behaviours.
  • Monitor basic patients signs: Monitor basic patient vital signs and other signs, taking actions as indicated by the nurse and report to her/him as appropriate.
  • Apply organisational techniques: Employ a set of organisational techniques and procedures which facilitate the achievement of the goals set. Use these resources efficiently and sustainably, and show flexibility when required.

ISCO group and title

5329 – Personal care workers in health services not elsewhere classified

  1. Hospital porter – ESCO
  2. Hospital porter | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Hospital porter – career guide and latest jobs – Sort your Future
  4. Duties of a Hospital Porter -Career Trend
  5. Featured image: Photo by Evgeniy Kolosov
Last updated on November 11, 2022

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