Career Development

What Does a Nursing Aide Do?

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

Nursing aides are the frontline workers of the nursing profession. They provide direct care to patients, working under the supervision of registered nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Nursing aides may be responsible for a wide range of duties, including bathing, feeding, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring, and assisting with daily living activities such as getting in and out of bed or sitting in a chair.

Nursing Aide Job Duties

Nursing aides have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Preparing patients for examination, treatment, or surgery by helping them get ready for bed or for surgery, assisting with their hygiene needs, and recording their medical history
  • Monitoring patients’ conditions and reporting changes that may require medical attention
  • Providing basic comfort to patients by assisting with bathing, grooming, feeding, or dressing them
  • Maintaining patient records and documenting patient care activities such as administering medication or changing bandages
  • Preparing sterile equipment for use during medical procedures and cleaning up afterward
  • Feeding patients who are unable to feed themselves or who need additional support with their diet due to a disease or condition
  • Helping patients with bathing and grooming, administering medications, and performing other nursing tasks such as changing linens or bedpans
  • Performing routine tasks such as cleaning bed pans or emptying trash cans
  • Observing and documenting patients’ activities in order to assess their health status and responses to treatment

Nursing Aide Salary & Outlook

Nursing aides’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $31,500 ($15.14/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $53,500 ($25.72/hour)

The employment of nursing aides is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

The need for healthcare services will increase as the large baby-boom population ages and people live longer with chronic conditions. In addition, demand for home health care services is expected to increase as more older adults receive their medical care in their homes rather than in hospitals.

Related: In-Depth Nursing Aide Salary Guide

Nursing Aide Job Requirements

Nursing aides typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: All nursing aides are required to have at least a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed a nursing assistant program. These programs typically take six to eight weeks to complete and teach basic nursing skills, anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and patient care.

Training & Experience: Most employers require new nursing aides to complete a training program before beginning work. These programs typically last between one and three months and teach basic nursing skills, patient care and safety procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: To work as a nursing aide in the U.S., you will need to earn a certification from the National Nurse Aide Registry (NNAR). This registry is the industry standard for nursing aides and is accepted in all 50 states.

Nursing Aide Skills

Nursing aides need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are necessary for nursing aides to effectively communicate with patients, doctors and other medical staff. Nursing aides must be able to listen to and understand patients’ needs and explain treatment plans to patients and their families. They must also be able to communicate with doctors and other medical staff to relay patient information and answer questions.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a skill that can help you perform your job duties well. As a nursing aide, you may be responsible for recording patient information, administering medications and performing other tasks that require you to be precise. Having good attention to detail can help you perform your job well and keep patients safe.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Nursing aides must be able to empathize with patients to provide them with the best care. For example, if a patient is upset about a procedure they are about to undergo, a nursing aide can comfort them and explain the procedure to them to help them feel more at ease.

Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Nursing aides often have to work in a variety of settings, with a variety of patients and with a variety of other medical professionals. Flexibility allows them to adapt to these changing circumstances and continue to provide quality care.

Physical stamina: Physical stamina refers to the ability to perform tasks for extended periods of time. Nursing aides often have to stand for long periods of time while assisting patients and staff members. Physical stamina can also refer to the ability to lift and move patients and equipment.

Nursing Aide Work Environment

Nursing aides typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other long-term care facilities. They may also work in home health care agencies, visiting patients in their homes to provide care. Nursing aides typically work shifts of 8 to 16 hours, although they may work longer shifts to cover for absent coworkers or to meet the needs of their patients. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays. Because many health care facilities are open 24 hours a day, nursing aides may have to work rotating shifts. Nursing aides may be on their feet for long periods of time and may have to lift and move patients. They may also be exposed to infectious diseases and hazardous materials.

Nursing Aide Trends

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

The Need for More Personalized Care

The need for more personalized care is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity in the nursing industry. This means that patients are looking for more individualized attention and care, which can only be provided by nurses who are familiar with their specific needs.

Nursing aides can capitalize on this trend by becoming more specialized in their caregiving skills. This will allow them to provide more personal attention to patients and help them feel more comfortable in their surroundings.

More Use of Technology in Healthcare

As technology continues to evolve, it is being used more and more in healthcare settings. This is because technology can make many tasks easier and more efficient, such as communication between doctors and nurses or the recording of patient data.

As technology becomes more prevalent in healthcare, nursing aides will need to learn how to use it effectively in order to keep up with the latest trends. They will also need to be able to troubleshoot any problems that may occur with the technology.

A Growing Demand for Long-Term Care

The demand for long-term care is growing rapidly as the population ages. This means that there is an increasing need for qualified nursing aides who can provide the essential care that these patients need.

As the demand for long-term care increases, nursing aides will be in high demand. Those who are able to provide quality care in a safe and efficient manner will be the most successful in this field.

How to Become a Nursing Aide

There are many different paths you can take to become a nursing aide. You can start by completing an online or in-person training program, or you can get started on the job with on-the-job training. No matter which path you choose, it’s important to make sure that your training meets the standards set by the National Nurse Aide Certification Program (NNAC). This will ensure that you have the skills and knowledge needed to provide safe and effective care to patients.

Once you have completed your training, there are many ways you can continue to grow as a nursing aide. You can take continuing education courses to learn new skills and techniques, participate in clinical rotations at local hospitals, and volunteer your time at local nursing homes.

Related: How to Write a Nursing Aide Resume

Advancement Prospects

Nursing aides who wish to advance their careers may do so by becoming licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). LPNs and RNs have more responsibilities and earn higher salaries than nursing aides. In order to become an LPN or RN, one must complete an accredited nursing program and pass a national licensing exam.

Some nursing aides may also advance their careers by becoming certified nurse assistants (CNAs). CNAs have more responsibilities than nursing aides and earn higher salaries. In order to become a CNA, one must complete an accredited nursing program and pass a state-administered certification exam.

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