Certified Nursing Assistant
Nursing assistants help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides or nursing attendants, clean and bathe patients or residents, help transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs, listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report the information to nurses, and measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature. Some nursing assistants may also dispense medication, depending on their training level and the state in which they work. In nursing homes, aides and attendants are often the principal caregivers. They have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Because some residents stay in a nursing home for months or years, aides and attendants may develop close, caring relationships with their patients.TCC programs right for you:Healthcare Programs
The majority of nursing assistants work in nursing and residential care facilities. Others are employed in hospitals, home care, and hospices. The work of nursing assistants is strenuous. They spend much of their time on their feet as they take care of many patients or residents. They may also have to do unpleasant tasks, such as emptying bedpans and changing soiled sheets. Most nursing assistants work full time, and because nursing homes and hospitals provide care at all hours, may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nursing assistants is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Because of the growing elderly population, many nursing assistants will be needed in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Growth in the demand for healthcare services should lead to increased opportunities for nursing assistants in other industries as well, including hospitals and clinics. Demand for nursing assistants may be constrained, however, by the fact that many nursing homes rely on government funding, which tends to increase more slowly than the cost of patient care.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.