Career Development

What Does a Health Assistant Do?

Find out what a health assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a health assistant.

Health assistants are responsible for providing a wide range of medical services to patients. They commonly work under the supervision of licensed healthcare professionals, but they may also be tasked with handling basic clinical tasks on their own.

Health assistants provide a variety of services including taking vital signs, administering medications and injections, assisting with physical therapy exercises, and performing other routine tasks that help keep patients healthy while in the hospital or clinic.

Health Assistant Job Duties

A health assistant typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Observing patients for signs of illness or discomfort and reporting any issues to the physician or nurse
  • Administering first aid in emergency situations such as wound care or administering CPR
  • Recording vital signs such as temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure
  • Performing routine tasks such as cleaning bedpans and urinals and emptying bed pans and trash cans
  • Preparing patients for examinations by helping them undress, cleaning them with antibacterial preparations, and draping them with sterile sheets
  • Preparing equipment for examinations by sterilizing instruments and setting up equipment such as scales and x-ray machines
  • Taking health histories, recording symptoms, and charting progress during examinations
  • Performing lab tests such as drawing blood or collecting urine samples
  • Providing basic health care services such as dressing wounds, administering medications, assisting in physical therapy sessions

Health Assistant Salary & Outlook

Health assistant salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the size of the employer, and the geographic location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $39,500 ($18.99/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $78,000 ($37.5/hour)

The employment of health assistants is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for healthcare services will increase as the large baby-boom population ages and people live longer, leading to more health problems. In addition, demand for healthcare services will increase as rates of obesity continue to rise. Health assistants will be needed to help care for these patients.

Related: In-Depth Health Assistant Salary Guide

Health Assistant Job Requirements

A health assistant candidate needs to satisfy several requirements for the position, including:

Education: Health assistants are typically required to have a high school diploma or GED. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed an associate’s degree in nursing or a related field. Courses in anatomy, physiology, biology and chemistry can be helpful for aspiring health assistants.

Training & Experience: Many health assistants receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training may include learning the specific computer programs and office procedures. Training may also include shadowing another health assistant to learn the daily tasks.

Certifications & Licenses: Health assistants do not require any certifications to earn their position. However, some states do require health assistants to earn a license to work in public health facilities. These health assistants can earn a health assistant certification to demonstrate their knowledge in essential skills and techniques.

Health Assistant Skills

Health assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Health assistants often communicate with patients, doctors and other medical staff. They must be able to clearly convey information and answer questions. They also need to be able to listen to and understand patients’ concerns. This requires active listening skills, which is the ability to pay attention to what someone else is saying and respond appropriately.

Medical knowledge: Medical knowledge is the ability to understand medical terminology and procedures. This is an important skill for health assistants because it allows them to accurately relay information to patients and other medical professionals. Medical knowledge also allows health assistants to accurately perform treatments and procedures.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As a health assistant, empathy can help you connect with patients and make them feel more comfortable. For example, if a patient is nervous about a procedure, you can use empathy to help them feel more at ease.

Organizational skills: Health assistants may be required to keep records of patient information, medications and other health-related data. Having strong organizational skills can help you keep track of all the information you need to provide to patients. You may also be required to organize and stock medical supplies and medications.

Technological skills: Health assistants may use computers and other technology to enter patient information, track treatment plans and communicate with other health care professionals. It’s important to be comfortable with technology and familiar with the software and programs your employer uses. You may also need to learn how to use new technology as it changes.

Health Assistant Work Environment

Health assistants work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and public health agencies. They usually work a 40-hour week, although some may work evenings or weekends. Many health assistants are required to be on call, which means they may have to work at odd hours or be on call for emergencies. The work can be stressful, and health assistants must be able to handle a fast pace and be able to work well under pressure. They must also be able to deal with sick or injured people and be able to handle the emotional stress that comes with the job.

Health Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how health assistants work. Health assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of Telehealth

The rise of telehealth is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity in the healthcare industry. This is due to the many benefits it offers, such as reduced travel time and costs, as well as increased access to care for patients.

As telehealth becomes more popular, health assistants will need to learn how to provide care through video conferencing platforms and other technologies. They will also need to be able to work with patients who are located across the country or even the world.

Patient Engagement Will Be Key

Health assistants will need to focus on patient engagement in order to be successful in their careers. This means that they will need to be able to communicate effectively with patients and build trust with them.

In addition, health assistants will need to be able to educate patients about their conditions and treatments in order to help them make informed decisions about their care. This requires a deep understanding of medical terminology and procedures.

More Use of Technology in Healthcare

The use of technology in healthcare is becoming increasingly common, as hospitals and clinics look for ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Health assistants can take advantage of this trend by becoming familiar with the latest technology and learning how to use it effectively. This includes things like using electronic medical records, implementing telehealth services, and using social media to connect with patients.

How to Become a Health Assistant

A career as a health assistant can be both rewarding and fulfilling. It’s important to consider what you want out of your career before starting down the path of becoming a health assistant. Do you want to work in a hospital setting or in a clinic? Do you want to specialize in a certain area of medicine, such as pediatrics or geriatrics?

No matter which direction you choose, it’s important to have a strong foundation in the basics of patient care. This includes having a working knowledge of anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and basic nursing skills. You should also be able to communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare professionals.

Related: How to Write a Health Assistant Resume

Advancement Prospects

Health assistants may advance to become medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, or registered nurses. With further education and training, they may also become nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or even doctors. Some health assistants may choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or obstetrics/gynecology. Others may move into management or administrative roles within their healthcare organization.

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