What Are the Job Responsibilities for a Nurse's Aide?

Explore the career requirements for a nurse's aide. Get the facts about training requirements, salary, job duties and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is A Nurse's Aide?

Nurse's aides, also known as nursing assistants, provide direct care to patients. They may feed and bathe patients, help rotate them in bed, and may even administer medications. They may assist patients with exercise, such as going for a walk, and they may also help prepare medical equipment for tests. They work under the supervision of nurses. Roughly 41% of nurse's aides worked in nursing care facilities as of 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 25% worked in hospitals, and 11% worked in retirement communities.

Training Required Nurse's aide training program
Key Responsibilities Bathe and clothe patients; take vital signs; serve meals; transfer patients to other rooms
Certification Certification via a state competency exam is required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 18% (for all nursing assistants)*
Median Salary (2015) $25,710 (for all nursing assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What are the Job Responsibilities of a Nurse's Aide?

A nurse's aide assists with the care of patients who are sick, injured or bedridden. In performing your job, you may be required to feed patients who can't eat by themselves, transfer patients to and from their beds, and ensure that patients receive daily walks for exercise. You might also help in setting up medical equipment such as x-ray machines. You can further help your patients by personally answering their calls for assistance and ensuring that rooms and beds are kept clean. Sometimes bedsores are a concern for bedridden patients. You can ensure that these painful sores don't develop by frequently turning your patients over in their beds.

As a nurse's aide, you may be the primary caregiver. As such, you'll spend a great deal of time with patients, and might be more likely to notice any changes in their conditions than other nursing staff. Therefore, you can quickly report any major or minor changes in patients' health or appetites to the medical professionals in charge.

What Adverse Work Conditions Might I Encounter?

As a nurse's aide, you may spend long hours on your feet as you attend to your patients' needs. Your job might sometimes entail lifting patients who are unable to stand on their own. This can be hazardous for both you and the patient, so it's important to first gain training in proper lifting techniques. It may also be possible to contract infections and diseases from patients. This, too, can be avoided by following protocol. In addition, there may be instances in which you are required to change soiled sheets, or to empty bedpans. Despite these conditions, a great number of nurse's aides derive satisfaction from their work in helping others.

What Are Some Career Specialties?

Some nurse's aides have other, specialized duties based on their job classifications. For example, delivery nurse's aides assist expectant mothers and prepare delivery rooms. A surgery nurse's aide might tidy operating rooms and sterilize medical instrumentation. Nursery nurse's aides feed and clothe newborn infants. Central supply nurse's aides must store, issue or clean medical and housekeeping supplies such as treatment trays, linens and food items.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The jobs that home health aides, personal care aides and occupational therapy aides and assistants do are all similar to the work of nurse's aides. Home health aides and personal care aides usually visit patients in their homes and assist them in performing routine tasks, such as bathing and grooming, and may also assist their clients on outings in the community. They may not need formal postsecondary training, though it's typically beneficial. Occupational therapy aides may assist individuals with disabilities, injuries or illness. They may help arrange for these people to get to medical appointments as well. Occupational therapy aides do not need postsecondary training, typically getting most of their preparation on the job.

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