A YOUNG Taunton woman has been flooded with supportive messages after her Facebook post defending the vital role of health care assistants (HCA) went viral.

Charmaine Briggs, 23, took to Facebook to vent her feelings after a stranger asked why she'd want to be "just" a HCA. What started off as a rant quickly gained speed as her message was shared across the world.

Her post has now been shared more than 40,000 times with more than 135,000 Facebook 'likes'.

Miss Briggs, who is a student nurse and worked as a HCA for five years before starting her training, said: "I was in a coffee shop in the queue talking to a friend and she asked how my nursing was going and if I was still enjoying it.

"I said it was really good, I was getting good experience moving around with placement but the money was hard.

"Then, a man behind us who I did not know, and nor did my friend, asked 'why would you want to be a nurse and wipe bums for a living? You may as well be just a HCA'

"At the time, I didn't say anything because I was just shocked that he joined into a conversation that did not involve him, but the words went around my head all day and to think people see it as 'just a HCA' really got to me."

Somerset County Gazette:

Miss Briggs wrote on Facebook how no one should be considered "just" a HCA, as she believes they are the staff with the patients 24 hours a day.

She says that all the staff members, including HCAs, doctors and nurses, come together as a team and all of their jobs are contingent on the other team members when they are working to save a life or cure an illness or injury.

Miss Briggs added: "I had a little rant on my status to let off steam and it just got shared more and more and more. I have had hundreds of messages on Facebook, some very touching from people who have terminal illness just sharing their gratitude.

"Some actually thanking me for saying it publicly as they get called 'just a HCA' all the time and it made them feel better about themselves.

"I never considered a general rant about something in my day going viral."