Career Development

What Does a Patient Attendant Do?

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

Patient attendants are responsible for providing assistance to patients who need help with daily activities. They commonly provide this care in a hospital setting, but may also be involved in home health services or other medical support services.

Patient attendants must have strong interpersonal skills and compassion for the people they serve. They must also be able to work independently without constant supervision—they’re often tasked with helping their patients with basic tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, etc., which requires them to be highly independent and capable of problem solving on the fly.

Patient Attendant Job Duties

Patient attendants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Keeping track of medications and scheduling appointments for follow-up care
  • Providing emotional support to patients by encouraging them during difficult treatments or procedures
  • Keeping track of medical records, including updating information as it changes over time
  • Helping patients get comfortable by adjusting pillows or blankets, or providing other assistance as needed
  • Assisting patients with special needs such as disabled patients who require assistance with daily activities
  • Performing clerical tasks such as filing medical records and answering phones
  • Clearing equipment before and after use, sterilizing and storing instruments, and disposing of biohazardous waste
  • Preparing patients for exams by bathing them, shaving them, applying makeup, or helping them put on prosthetics if needed
  • Providing transportation to doctors’ offices or hospitals for appointments or surgery

Patient Attendant Salary & Outlook

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

  • Median Annual Salary: $25,628 ($12.32/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $60,000 ($28.85/hour)

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

The large baby-boom population is expected to need more home health care as they age and become less able to care for themselves. In addition, technological advances in medical equipment have made it possible for patients to be treated at home rather than in a hospital or nursing home.

Related: Patient Attendant Interview Questions and Answers

Patient Attendant Job Requirements

There are a few requirements that are necessary in order to become a patient attendant, which may include:

Education: Patient attendants are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some facilities may prefer an associate’s degree in health care or a related field. An associate’s degree can help prepare you for a career in patient care.

Training & Experience: Patient attendants receive on-the-job training from their employers. This training may include learning how to use the facility’s equipment and procedures, as well as how to interact with patients.

Certifications & Licenses: Though certifications are not necessary for patient attendants to find work, certifications can increase an attendant’s chances of finding a job and increasing their earning potential.

Patient Attendant Skills

Patient attendants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Patient attendants must be able to communicate effectively with patients, other medical staff and patients’ families. You may be the first person a patient sees when they enter a medical facility, so it’s important that you can answer their questions and direct them to the right person or area. You may also be responsible for communicating patient test results to patients and their families, so it’s important that you can explain medical terminology in a way that patients can understand.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a skill that can help you perform your job well. As a patient attendant, you may be responsible for recording patient information, keeping patient files organized and ensuring that patients receive the correct medications. Having strong attention to detail can help you perform your job well and ensure that patients receive the care they need.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. As a patient attendant, you may be the first person a patient sees when they enter a medical facility. You can use empathy to help patients feel comfortable and cared for.

Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. As a patient attendant, you may be asked to perform duties outside of your normal job description. For example, if a nurse is busy and a patient needs to be moved, you may be asked to help. Being flexible can help you adapt to changing circumstances and perform your job well.

Organizational skills: Patient attendants may be responsible for keeping track of patient information, medical records and other paperwork. Having strong organizational skills can help you keep track of everything you need to do your job well.

Patient Attendant Work Environment

Patient attendants typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care facilities. They may also work in private homes, providing care to elderly or disabled individuals who are unable to care for themselves. Most patient attendants work full time, and many work more than 40 hours per week. Some patient attendants may be required to work nights, weekends, or holidays. Some may also be on call, which means they may have to be available to work at any time, day or night.

Patient Attendant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how patient attendants work. Patient attendants 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 Patient-Centered Care

The trend of patient-centered care is growing rapidly as more and more people become aware of the benefits of having a direct relationship with their healthcare provider. This means that patient attendants will need to be able to provide excellent customer service and be comfortable with a more personal approach to care.

As patient attendants are increasingly responsible for providing comfort and support to patients, they will need to be able to understand what patients are going through and how to best help them. This requires a deep understanding of the medical process and the emotions that come along with it.

Patient Attendants Will Be in High Demand

As the population ages, the demand for patient attendants will continue to grow. This is because older adults often require assistance with daily tasks such as eating, bathing, and dressing.

Patient attendants can play an important role in helping elderly patients stay healthy and happy. By developing strong relationships with patients, attendants can help ensure that they receive the care they need. In addition, patient attendants can also provide valuable feedback to nurses and doctors about the needs of their patients.

More Attention on Patient Safety

There has been a recent focus on patient safety in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. This is due to the fact that there have been a number of high-profile incidents where patients were harmed or even killed by mistakes made by hospital staff.

As a result, patient attendants are now being held accountable for ensuring that patients are safe. This includes making sure that they are properly restrained, monitored, and cared for.

How to Become a Patient Attendant

A career as a patient attendant can be a great way to get started in the healthcare field. As a patient attendant, you’ll provide essential support services to patients and their families. This could include helping with meals, cleaning, laundry, and transportation.

You’ll also need to have a strong understanding of medical terminology so that you can communicate effectively with doctors and nurses. Additionally, it’s important to be able to handle stressful situations calmly and compassionately.

Advancement Prospects

For patient attendants that want to move up in their career, they will need to get more training and education in the medical field. With more training, they will be able to apply for jobs such as medical assistant, registered nurse, or even doctor. To get more training, patient attendants can take classes at a community college or university, or they can get on-the-job training by working with a more experienced medical professional.

Patient Attendant Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide high-quality, compassionate care to patients and their families. We’re looking for a patient attendant to join our team and provide support to patients and families during their hospital stay. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication and customer service skills, as well as the ability to handle a fast-paced environment. He or she will be responsible for providing for the comfort and safety of patients, as well as running errands and performing light housekeeping duties.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assist patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and ambulation
  • Record vital signs, input data into the patient’s electronic medical record, and document changes in condition
  • Assist with diagnostic testing, treatments, and procedures ordered by the physician
  • Answer call lights promptly and attend to patient needs in a timely manner
  • Maintain a clean and safe environment for patients, families, and staff
  • Promote positive customer service interactions with patients, families, and staff
  • Serve as a resource to patients and families, providing information and emotional support
  • Collaborate with the interdisciplinary team to develop and implement individualized care plans
  • Participate in quality improvement initiatives to enhance the delivery of patient care
  • Transport patients to and from various areas within the facility, using proper body mechanics and lifting techniques
  • Perform basic clerical duties, such as answering phones, stocking supplies, and completing paperwork
  • Adhere to infection control policies and procedures

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as a patient attendant, nurse assistant, or related role
  • Basic understanding of medical procedures and terminology
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to follow instructions and take direction well
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Certification from an accredited nursing program
  • Bilingual ability
  • Experience working with elderly or disabled patients
  • Compassionate and caring personality


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