What is a Nursing Assistant?
A Nursing Assistant may also known as a nursing aide, personal care worker, geriatric
aide, unlicensed assistive nursing personnel, orderlies, or hospital attendants. They
title often depends on the institutional and local governmental policies. Nursing
assistants generally perform routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and medical
staff. They will often answer patientsí call lights, deliver messages, serve meals, make
beds, help patients to eat, dress, and bath. They also may provide skin care to patients;
take their temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure.
Other duties of nursing assistants may include helping patients get into and out of bed
and walk. They also may escort patients to operating or examining rooms and help to keep
the patient rooms neat and clean. A nursing assistant may also be responsible to set up
medical equipment, store and move supplies. Many times a nursing assistant may be
requested to observe a patientís physical, mental or emotional condition and report any
change to the nursing or medical staff.
The job outlook for nursing assistants and related careers is excellent. According to
the United States Department of Labor the overall employment of nursing assistants and
related careers "... is projected to grow much faster than average for all occupations
through the year 2014." In the United States the median hourly earnings of nursing
assistants, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants was $10.09 in May 2004. The middle 50
percent earned between $8.59 and $12.09 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than
$7.31, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $14.02 an hour.
Nursing assistants may also choose to work as home care aides helping the elderly,
disabled, ill, and mentally disabled persons live in their own homes or in residential
care facilities instead of in health facilities. Most personal and home care aides work
with elderly or physically or mentally disabled clients who need more extensive personal
and home care than family or friends can provide.
Some aides work with families in which a parent is incapacitated and small children
need care. Others help discharged hospital patients who have relatively short-term needs.
Nursing assistants, home care aides and related professionals should have a desire to help
people and not mind hard work. They should be responsible, compassionate, emotionally
stable, and cheerful. In addition, aides should be tactful, honest, and discreet because
they work in private homes.
Job training and education for nursing assistants and aides varies greatly. Many receive
on the job training while others may take traditional or internet based classes. Certain
jobs may require additional certification or licensure, so it is important that students
check with their local medical or nursing regulatory agencies to assure that a particular
training program will meet their needs. In the United States many jobs require nursing
assistant to take additional state approved classes and testing.
The nursing assistant often plays an important role in providing basic care while
ensuring the safety and comfort of patients. If the idea of making a positive difference
in the lives of others while enjoying above average salaries, benefits and job security
appeals to you, a career as a nursing assistant or related healthcare profession may be
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