Career Development

What Does an Orderly Do?

Find out what an orderly does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an orderly.

Orderlies are responsible for a variety of tasks in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. They commonly assist nurses with basic patient care duties such as bathing, feeding, dressing and grooming. However, they may also be called upon to perform more complex tasks such as lifting patients or moving them from one bed to another.

Orderly Job Duties

Orderlies have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Preparing medical equipment and supplies for use during treatments or procedures
  • Following infection control guidelines to prevent transmission of disease
  • Maintaining patient records with detailed documentation of care provided
  • Moving patients in and out of bed, using specialized equipment such as wheelchairs or gurneys
  • Providing assistance to nurses with nursing tasks such as bathing patients and assisting with feeding tubes
  • Taking patients’ vital signs such as temperature, pulse, and respiration rate
  • Cleaning the patient’s room and bathroom, as well as changing linens and towels
  • Providing transportation to appointments or hospitals as needed, such as driving an ambulance or assisting in a wheelchair lift or stretcher
  • Performing basic tasks such as cleaning rooms, preparing meals, and helping patients with hygiene and grooming tasks

Orderly Salary & Outlook

Orderlies’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. Some orderlies work part-time in addition to holding another job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $49,500 ($23.8/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $54,500 ($26.2/hour)

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

Demand for healthcare services will increase as the large baby-boom population ages and people continue to live longer. As the large population of older people requires more medical care, demand for orderlies will increase.

Orderly Job Requirements

To become an orderly, you may need to have the following:

Education: Orderlies typically need a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate. Some employers may prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing or another related field. These degrees provide the knowledge and skills needed to work as an orderly.

Training & Experience: Most employers will provide on-the-job training for new orderlies. This training will teach the orderly how to properly clean and disinfect rooms, how to properly dispose of waste and how to properly transport patients. The training will also teach the orderly how to properly use equipment, such as gurneys and wheelchairs.

Certifications & Licenses: While many employers do not require orderlies to have certifications, orderlies can earn certifications to gain more practical knowledge of their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities.

Orderly Skills

Orderlies need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: Orderlies must have excellent attention to detail to ensure they complete all of their tasks correctly. This can include making sure they follow the correct procedure for cleaning a room, filling out paperwork correctly and making sure they don’t miss any steps when performing a task. Attention to detail can also help you notice any potential issues or problems before they become a larger issue.

Time management: Orderlies often have to manage their time effectively to complete all of their duties. This includes knowing how long it takes to complete each task and adjusting your schedule accordingly. For example, if you know it takes you longer to clean a room than it does to restock supplies, you may want to clean the room first so you can move on to other tasks sooner.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information to others. Orderlies must be able to communicate with patients, doctors and other medical staff. You should be able to explain treatments, answer questions and relay information to others. You should also be able to communicate with patients in a way that is respectful and kind.

Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Orderlies often have to be flexible because their work environment is constantly changing. For example, if a patient’s condition changes, an orderly may have to adjust their treatment plan. This requires the orderly to be able to think on their feet and make quick decisions.

Teamwork: Orderlies often work with other staff members, such as nurses, to complete their duties. Being able to work with others can help you learn from others and complete tasks more efficiently.

Orderly Work Environment

Orderlies typically work in hospitals, but may also work in nursing homes, clinics, or other medical facilities. They work under the supervision of nurses and other medical staff and are responsible for providing basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding patients, as well as moving them to and from examination rooms, operating rooms, and other areas within the facility. Orderlies also transport laboratory specimens and other materials within the facility. They typically work full time, but may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be physically demanding, and orderlies must be able to lift and move patients who may weigh up to 200 pounds.

Orderly Trends

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

The Growth of Telehealth

The growth of telehealth is a trend that is quickly changing the way that healthcare is delivered. By using technology to connect patients with doctors and nurses, telehealth allows for more efficient and cost-effective care.

As this trend continues to grow, orderlies will need to learn how to work in a telehealth setting. This includes understanding the technology used in telehealth clinics and how to provide patient care in a remote setting.

Patient Satisfaction Will Be More Important Than Ever

As hospitals strive to improve patient satisfaction scores, they are placing increasing importance on the role of the orderly.

Orderlies are now responsible for providing a wide range of services, such as helping patients get settled into their rooms, assisting with meals, and cleaning up after them. In order to be successful in this new role, orderlies will need to be able to communicate effectively with patients and understand their needs.

More Focus on Patient Safety

As hospitals focus more on patient safety, they are putting a greater emphasis on the role of the orderly.

Orderlies are essential to ensuring that hospitals are safe and clean environments for patients. They are also responsible for monitoring patients’ conditions and alerting medical staff if there is a problem.

In order to stay competitive, hospitals will need to hire well-qualified orderlies who can ensure that patients are safe and comfortable.

How to Become an Orderly

There are many different paths you can take to become an orderly. Some people start their career in nursing, while others begin as assistants in a medical office. No matter which path you choose, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the medical field and its procedures. You should also be able to work well with patients and have excellent communication skills.

Advancement Prospects

Orderlies typically are promoted to lead orderly or supervisor positions. With experience, some may advance to become licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, or other medical personnel. Some may also move into management or administrative positions in hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care facilities.

Orderly Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide high-quality patient care by ensuring that our facilities are clean, safe, and comfortable. We’re looking for an orderly to join our team and help us maintain these standards. The ideal candidate will be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects, as well as being detail-oriented and able to follow instructions carefully. He or she will be responsible for cleaning patient rooms, bathrooms, and common areas, as well as transporting patients and equipment as needed. The orderly will also be responsible for stocking supplies and keeping track of inventory.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Maintain cleanliness and organization in all areas of the facility
  • Adhere to infection control policies and procedures
  • Perform general housekeeping duties such as dusting, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, washing windows, etc.
  • Sanitize and disinfect all surfaces according to established protocols
  • Empty trash receptacles and replace liners as needed
  • Stock supplies in all areas as needed
  • Transport dirty linen to the designated area for laundering
  • Assist with setting up for events and activities as needed
  • Help maintain a safe and secure environment for all patients, staff, and visitors
  • Report any maintenance issues or safety hazards to the appropriate personnel
  • Follow all policies and procedures set forth by the organization
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as an orderly or nurse assistant
  • Excellent physical stamina and strength, with ability to lift patients
  • Basic math skills for documenting patient vital signs and medications
  • Familiarity with medical terminology
  • Ability to follow instructions and maintain confidentiality
  • Compassionate personality with strong people skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Certification from a vocational program or college course in nursing assistance
  • Bilingual abilities
  • Experience working with elderly or disabled patients
  • CPR certification


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