What Is a Licensed Nursing Assistant?

If you'd like to work in healthcare, you may consider a position as a licensed nursing assistant (LNA). States are responsible for the regulations regarding licensing of nursing assistants, and in, most states, nursing assistants are certified, not licensed. Read on to learn about the training requirements and job duties of a licensed nursing assistant. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Licensed Nursing Assistant Job Description

As a nursing assistant, you'll provide patient care under the supervision of registered nurses and other medical staff. Most of your duties will be those that can legally be handled by someone who is not a licensed nurse. Your duties will involve basic care tasks, such as feeding, dressing or moving patients; assisting with hygiene; and changing bed linens. You can also take vital signs, help patients exercise and keep patients' rooms clean. Another part of your job could be to keep patients company, such as walking with them in the halls or providing emotional support.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of nursing assistants is expected to increase by 18% from 2014-2024, which is faster than the national average. Job prospects should be particularly good for those who have completed a state-approved training program and passed the licensing exam. The BLS also reported that the average salary for nursing assistants was $25,100 as of May 2014.

Important Facts About Licensed Nursing Assistants

On-the-Job Training Short-term
Key Skills Communication, reading comprehension, service oriented, critical thinking, observational, social awareness, astute listener
Work Environment Hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities
Similar Occupations Certified medication aide, certified nurse aide, geriatric nursing aide, nurses' aide, personal care aides, home health aides, medical assistants

Job Requirements

To meet licensing requirements, you typically need to complete a state-approved nursing assistant program, which can be found at technical schools, community colleges and hospitals. Programs typically take less than a year to complete and often award a certificate. In a nursing assistant program, you may learn about ethics, rehabilitative care, patients' rights, body mechanics, charting and vital signs. You may typically need a high school diploma before being admitted into a program; however, some programs also require you to pass a criminal background check.

As a nursing assistant, you'll need to be able to communicate with medical professionals, which may require some understanding of medical terminology. You'll also need an understanding of medical conditions to enable you to better care for patients. Knowing what they are going through as a result of their medical condition can help you to know what kind of care and assistance they may need. In addition, you'll need to be physically capable of lifting and moving patients.

Licensing Information

All states require nursing assistants to pass a competency exam, but the title awarded to those who pass this exam differs by state. Many states offer certification for nursing assistants and award the title Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), but some states, such as Rhode Island, use licensing and the Licensed Nursing Assistant title. While requirements may vary by state, you generally need to graduate from an approved nursing assistant program, as well as passing a background check and a licensing exam to become licensed.

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