Nursing and psychiatric aides assist patients who are ill, disabled, and mentally or physically challenged. Home health aides hold similar jobs but work in a patient's home rather than a hospital or nursing home. A career as an aide can be very satisfying but also involves a lot of physical and emotional stress.
Nursing aides are often referred to as nursing assistants, hospital attendants, or geriatric aides. Nurses or other medical staff supervises them. Duties include responding to patient calls, serving meals, making beds, taking temperatures, and determining blood pressure. They are also responsible for escorting patients to and from examinations. Nursing aides develop strong relationships with a patient and are usually the ones who first notice any physical or mental changes.
Home health aides assist with many of the same tasks as nursing aides. However, instead of working in a hospital or nursing care facility, they work in a patient's home. The most common patients are those who are disabled or elderly. Some only need temporary care when released from a hospital. Others need on-going assistance due to the demands placed on the patient's family.
Psychiatric aides care for mentally disabled or emotionally disturbed patients. They are also referred to as mental health assistants or psychiatric nursing assistants. These aides assist patients with bathing, grooming and personal health care. In addition, they develop strong relationships by socializing with them daily. They play games, watch TV, and attend activities together. Because of this strong bond, they strongly influence a patient's progress.
Although most employers do not require a high school diploma or experience, it is definitely beneficial. Many vocational, technical, and high schools offer courses in personal care, nutrition, and anatomy. Aides should be in good phsycial condition so as to lift and move patients or equipment. They will need to be patient, kind, and dependable.
Employers who are reimbursed by Medicare must hire personnel who meet the Federal Government's standards. In these cases, aides must pass a competency evaluation program. Twelve test areas are covered: communication skills, nutrition, reading and recording vital signs, procedures for basic infection control, body functions, patient documentation, emergency procedures, patient characteristics, personal care, healthy environment maintenance, safe transfer methods, and positioning basics.
Hourly Earnings and Advancement
Nursing aides earn between $8.00 and $14.00 per hour. They typically earn more for late shifts and receive benefits and paid vacations. Home health aides are not paid for travel time, only time spent in the patient's home. They can earn between $7.00 and $12.00 an hour. Benefits are not included.
Advancement is limited in this field. Promotion will require further training or attainment of a degree. These jobs are wonderful for individuals determining if the healthcare industry is right for them.
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