Nursing assistants work in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and ambulatory health care services. They help doctors and nurses provide optimal care to patients. Nursing assistants also work directly with patients and residents of nursing homes to provide basic health care for them. The most common job duties of a nursing assistant might include:
Talking to patients to see how they are feeling and what they need when it comes to care.
Cleaning and bathing patients or nursing home residents.
Helping patients use the toilet.
Providing assistance while patients get dressed.
Turning patients who are confined to bed rest.
Helping patients move to and from beds and wheelchairs.
Listening to patients as they speak about their health issues.
Reporting the patients' complaints to the physician.
Measuring patients' temperature and blood pressure before they see a doctor.
Helping patients eat meals when they can't feed themselves.
Dispensing medicines to patients.
Candidates who enjoy working with people, particularly the elderly, may enjoy working as a nursing assistant. Aspiring nursing assistants need to be dedicated to the well-being of patients and willing to work long hours.
Nursing Assistant Job Education Requirements
Most nursing assistant positions require that candidates have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. It's also necessary that nursing assistants complete an education program where they will be taught the various principles of nursing, and they will also be able to acquire hands-on experience doing clinical work under supervision. After the program's completion, they must pass the state's competency exam for nursing assistants. Those who want to go further with their education may opt to look at considerably higher paying jobs, such as being a nurse or a nurse supervisor.
Nursing Assistant Job Market
There are currently more than one and a half million Americans employed as nursing assistants, and more than 312,200 new nursing assistant positions will be added between now and 2022. This 21 percent job growth means that the demand for nursing assistants will be steadily and significantly increasing. As more people are able to access health insurance and the baby boomer generation ages, there will be more people seeing doctors regularly, and the need for nursing assistants will increase substantially.
Nursing Assistant Job Salary Information
The average annual salary for nursing assistants is $24,420, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners who worked as nursing assistants made over $35,330, while 10 percent of those working within the low-end pay rate earned less than $18,300 per year.