Nursing aides, also known as nursing assistants, are caregivers who perform basic patient care duties in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Nursing aides may be low in the nursing hierarchy in terms of responsibilities and authority, but nonetheless, an integral part of the profession. As the principal caregivers in most nursing homes, nursing aides spend a great deal of time interacting and building caring relationships with their patients.
According to the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the numbers listed above, jobs in nursing aide are expected to grow significantly over the next few years. Depending on the employer, training level, and state in which you work, nursing aides are responsible for many important duties, such as:
- Assist patients with day-to-day tasks, such as dressing, bathing, feeding, and using the toilet
- Take patents' vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse, and temperature
- Help bedridden and immobile patients walk, exercise, and make their bed
- Document health changes and report patient information to supervising nurses
Though simple in nature, the duties of nursing aides are essential to the day-to-day operations of health care providers. Their attentive bedside manner, patience, and compassionate attitude are important to patients' overall health and comfort. According to the BLS, there will be a growing demand for nursing aide jobs in the U.S. because elderly populations are increasing and more people are turning to long-term care facilities. This ongoing demand may result in more opportunities for nursing aides and assistants in hospitals, clinics, and other industries.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a Nursing Aide
Nursing aides generally need to have a postsecondary certificate or award to practice in most states. Students can obtain this entry-level education by attending community colleges, vocational schools, and approved high school programs. Some hospitals and nursing homes also offer training to qualified students.
Most certified nursing aide programs include formal instruction and practical, hands-on training in basic nursing care. During this course of study, students will develop the knowledge and skills needed to care for patients of all backgrounds, especially residents of long-term care facilities. In addition to completing science and nursing-related courses, students also have clinical requirements in general health care and specialized fields like geriatrics.
- Basic Nurse Assistant
- Nursing Technology
- Introduction to Home Health Nursing Aide
- Nurse Assistant: Care of Patients with Alzheimer's
After completing an approved training program, graduates take a nurse aid competency exam that qualifies them to use state-specific titles, such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Once they've passed this state exam, nursing aides will be placed on a state registry that qualifies them for nursing aide careers in various health care settings, particularly nursing homes. Depending on the state you work in, continuing education and certification renewal may be required to continue practicing.