The Front Line of Medicine – Nursing Assistant
Becoming a Nursing Assistant, Nurses Aid or Medical Assistant is a great way to get into the medical field with very little experience or the requirement for advanced education. This position offers a lot of responsibility and direct patient contact. If these are the things you are looking for in a heath care career, then a Nursing Assistant position may be right for you.
Nursing assistants or medical assistants, traditionally called nurses aide, assist in the care of patients. They work under the supervision of nurses and other medical staff. Nursing assistants have a great deal of contact with patients. In a hospital setting, they provide personal care such as bathing, feeding, and dressing. They also perform support functions such as transporting patients, taking vital signs and answering patient calls. They might also be called upon to set up equipment and prepare for a procedure. Nursing assistants and aides are often responsible for observing and reporting how patients respond to the care that is being given. Nursing assistants employed in nursing homes are called geriatric aides. These aides have far more contact with residents than any of the other staff, and are therefore expected to develop ongoing relationships with the patients and treat them in a positive, caring way. To be a successful nursing assistant, an individual must be a team player who is able to take direction well but also be able to work independently when required.
Nursing assistants work in a variety of different health care settings. These include hospitals, out patient clinics, doctor’s offices, home health agencies, nursing homes, private homes, and mental health institutions. It can be a fast-paced environment. You will spend a lot of time on your feet and the position occasionally requires lifting and moving patients. Job duties will vary greatly depending on where you work and the staffing needs of the facility.
Educational Requirements and Training
Most employers require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Training is offered in a variety of settings, which may include high schools, vocational schools, community colleges, geriatric facilities, and on-the-job with employers. Training requirements also vary by state so be sure to checkout your state or local requirements. If you pursue this career path, then you may want to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Students complete courses in physiology, anatomy, nutrition, body function, resident rights, and infection control. Additionally, students learn patient care skills, which include assisting patients to groom, eat, and bathe. Many hospitals prefer hiring aides with previous home health or nursing aide experience.
Promotion opportunities for nursing aides are limited but with additional training you can advance or make a career transition to nursing or other related roles. Many former nursing aides become registered and licensed practical nurses, medical assistants or go on to other related fields.
The growth for nursing assistants is expected to increase at an above average rate. Trained and certified nursing assistants should enjoy excellent career prospects.
Job growth for nursing assistants is expected to increase by over 18 percent over the next decade, a much higher rate than the projected growth of other industries. The highest rate of growth is expected to be outside the hospital. Growth will be spurred by growing elderly populations which will result in more in-home care, increases in assisted living facilities, long term care and community based health facilities.
A position as a Nursing Assistant, Nurses Aid or Medical Assistant can be a great way to break into the growing medical industry with little or no experience. If you like interacting with people, a fast paced environment and making a difference in someone’s life, you may want to explore this career path.