Nursing Assistant Jobs: What You Need To Know
As a nursing assistant, you work directly under the supervision of the registered nurse in order to provide basic nursing care to patients, whether they are in hospitals, clinics, or nursing facilities. After you have undergone an accredited nursing assistant program and received certification, it is then time to choose from the many nursing assistant jobs waiting for you just around the corner. The population of the elderly is rapidly growing, and the demand for long-term care and rehabilitation is sure to grow. This means the career outlook for nursing assistants are quite promising, with an expected growth rate of 21% to 35% over the next ten years.
As the duties and responsibilities of registered nurses continue to increase in coverage and become more elaborate, it becomes increasingly difficult to spend more time with patients individually and attend to their needs. This is the reason we have nursing assistants – they are the ones who directly interact with patients and personally provide them with nursing care. A day in the life of a nursing mainly revolves around spending time with the patient – whether by feeding them, helping them get in and out of the bed, taking their vital signs, answering their calls, or dressing/bathing them.
It will be up to the nursing assistant to keep a close watch on the patients assigned to him, monitor their status, and report all findings or any irregularities to the registered nurse. Basically, the nursing assistant acts as the “eye and ear”, as well as an “extended arm” of the registered nurse. And because of the nature of their work, nursing assistants are expected to have a great deal of patience, be emotionally stable, and have the ability to stay calm and collected during emergency situations and medical procedures. They must be a good team player who is reliable and can precisely follow orders.
And since the work of a nursing assistant can be quite physically demanding, being in good physical condition is highly recommended. Nursing assistants must also be polite and tactful at all times, have solid communication skills, and must have a genuine desire to help people. Anyone looking to become a nursing assistant must be ready to perform even the most unpleasant and challenging of tasks, such as changing soiled bed linens and emptying bed pans, or even taking care of disoriented or uncooperative patients. Despite the emotional challenges this career present, being a nursing assistant can also give you fulfilling and gratifying feeling from helping those in need.
Although most nursing assistant jobs can be found in hospitals and clinics, a significant number of job offerings can also be found in nursing, geriatric, and long-term care facilities. Other places of employment include adult day care centers, children’s hospitals, private residences, and birthing centers. In 2008, nursing assistants account for an estimated 1.5 million jobs. Most states will require passing a state-regulated disease test before employment, and some also perform a background check on all applicants as well. On the average, you can expect to work around 40 hours each week if you are a full-time nursing assistant, but don’t be surprised if you are suddenly asked to work on graveyard shifts, weekends, and even on holidays, as patient care can be required 24/7.