Nurses Aides

Nurses aides provide care for individuals who have difficulties in caring for themselves. They provide much needed care and assistance such as assisting patients in exam rooms or simply watching television.

What to Expect

Nurses aides are a crucial part of the healthcare industry. Under the direction of registered nurses and doctors nurses aides provide basic care and assistance to patients in nursing homes or mental health facilities. These patients are not capable of caring for themselves due to advanced age, disease, medical conditions, disabilities, and other conditions. Nurses aides assist the patients in the most common and basic of needs.

Duties of a nurses aid may not always be pleasant but is necessary to ensure a quality of life for the patients. Some of the common duties include;

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Serve meals
  • Make beds
  • Observe behavior and report any changes of attitude or mood
  • Change bedpans and linens
  • Interacting with patients socially

Nurses aides are often the ones with the most contact with patients. As a result they often form deep bonds. For those seeking employment in this field should be aware that this career involves long, hard hours that are taxing physically and emotionally. To many, the tradeoff of providing a much needed service that is fulfilling is more than enough to make all the effort worthwhile.

Nurses aides are required to spend long hours on their feet lifting heavy items and helping patients stand and walk. As a result nurses aides are in constant danger of back injury though with proper caution and care any injury can be avoided.

Other dangers include the possibility of disease and minor injuries.

Nurses aides employed in psychiatric institutions will be presented with another set of complications. They may be presented with patients who are disoriented, confused, or even violent. At times patients may be unable or unwilling to eat or even get out of bed. It is then up to the psychiatric aide to provide the necessary care.

Education, Training, and Certification

Nurses aides often require only a high school diploma to be accepted into an entry level position. Training is available in many vocational schools and community colleges. These courses cover:

  • Nutrition
  • Anatomy
  • Infection control
  • Communication
  • Body mechanics
  • Patient’s rights

Nurses aides will also be trained in how to properly care for patient’s daily needs such as grooming and other care skills.

Some facilities and institutions provide on the job training. The degree of this training depends on the facility.

For nurses aides working in a nursing care facility there are government mandated requirements. Nurses aides must complete 75 hours of training and an evaluation before being certified. Once this training is completed the professional will be deemed a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Other qualities of a nurses aide include;

  • A clean criminal background
  • Good physical health
  • Emotional stability
  • Friendly demeanor
  • Positive attitude
  • Dependability

Employment Options

There is an estimated 1 million nurses aides employed in the country. These numbers are expected to increase as the number of elderly continues to rise. Nurses aides are needed in various facilities such as hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes, and other institutions where the patients have limited ability to care for themselves or are completely dependent upon others.

Employment Outlook

Nurses aides will continue to be in demand thanks to the continued growth of the elderly population. Many aides either advance to other positions or leave the career field.

Projected Salary

Nurses aides are one of the lowest paid career field in the healthcare industry. On average they earn $11 hourly. Many nurses aides report that the job satisfaction outweighs the poor pay.

The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"

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