Individuals who enjoy opportunities to nurture and assist in providing hope and healing to others are excellent Nursing Assistant professionals.

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Job Tasks:

  • Answer patient call signals to determine patient needs

  • Dressing and/or bathing patients and providing oral hygiene, skin and hair care

  • Feeding

  • Toilet assistance, bowel and bladder monitoring

  • Apply clean dressings, slings, stockings or support bandages

  • Provide physical support to assist patient to get out of bed, walk, stand or exercise

  • Assistance with walking or transporting patient in a wheel chair

  • Lifting, repositioning and turning bedridden patients

  • Assistance with range-of-motion exercises

  • Various observations that require reporting to Nurse staff

  • Record vital signs such as temperatures, blood pressure, pulse or respiration rate as directed by medical or nursing staff

  • Change bed linens and make beds

Skills and Abilities Needed to Perform Job:

 

  • Knowledge and use of Microsoft software (Office, Excel, Work Outlook)

  • Knowledge and use of tools and equipment to assist in patient care (wheelchairs, gait belts, canes, thermometers and stethoscopes)

  • Oral Comprehension – Ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented in writing

  • Service Orientation – Ability to provide excellent customer (patient) service (care)

  • Problem Sensitivity – Ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong

  • Active Listening – Ability to give full attention to what others are saying and taking time to understand

  • Oral Expression – Ability to communicate information in speaking so that others will understand

Desired Work Style Attributes:

  • Attention to details

  • Integrity – Honest and ethical

  • Cooperation – Pleasant with others

  • Concern for Others – Sensitive to needs of others

  • Dependability – Reliable and responsible

  • Stress Tolerance – Accepting criticism and dealing calmly in stressful situations

  • Self-Control – Maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check

Education Requirements:

To enter this career, you usually need to graduate from a formal training program. Many 2-year colleges have nursing assistant programs. Programs are also offered at vocational schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. These usually take less than a year to complete, and lead to a certificate. You often need a high school diploma or General Education Degree (GED) to apply.

Nursing assistants need to be patient, understanding, and level-headed. They must have an interest in helping people, and have effective communication skills. It is also important to be able to follow instructions carefully.

Some nursing assistants use their skills and qualifications as a springboard to go into more advanced nursing. For example, a nursing assistant may choose to take a training program to become a patient care technician (PCT). PCTs are qualified to perform more advanced duties than nursing assistants, such as venipuncture (drawing blood from a vein) or EKG measurement.

Other nursing assistants may go on to acquire the training necessary to become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses. See our career profiles for information about these professions.

As a student, you will take some standard courses, such as:

  • Nursing skills

  • Basic anatomy

  • Nutrition

  • Infection control

You will get on-the-job training in a hospital or nursing home as well.

To qualify as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), you must pass an exam. Most certification exams have both a written and a practical portion.