Nursing Assistants - An Option to Test the Waters for a Career in Healthcare
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
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
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.
Career Related Article Writing - More on Nursing Aides:
Become a Nurse Assistant