How Much Does a Nursing Assistant Earn Yearly?
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Nursing assistants are health professionals who assist clients in varying states of health with daily functioning. They perform a variety of tasks that support clients with diminished mental or physical faculties.
Nursing assistants do not usually specialize, instead they work in all types of environments with clients who need this type of assistance. They usually work alongside registered nurses and other health professionals to ensure that their clients get everything they need to heal from injury or to thrive with limited functioning. The care they provide is usually practical, but they can also act as social support for their clients.
Nursing assistants have a range of duties that can vary depending on where they work and what their clients need. Some of their job duties include:
Some patients have trouble feeding themselves because of injuries or illness. Nursing assistants can help them by organizing their food so it is ready to eat, cutting up their food, or feeding them if necessary. This is sometimes essential to ensure that patients get the nutrients they need.
Depending on their training and the facility they work in, these medical professionals may have to measure and record their patients’ vital signs. This can include their blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.
Some patients may have difficulty walking, transferring between chairs, or moving in bed. Nursing assistants can help with this by offering physical help and assistance where necessary. They also use lifting equipment to transfer patients who cannot stand up on their own.
Individuals in this job need to complete paperwork that records their patients’ conditions and any potential problems that they notice during their shift. This means listening closely to their patients and reporting any troubling symptoms as well as changes in their physical, mental or emotional condition.
Patients who are ill or old may have trouble bathing themselves or going to the toilet without assistance. Nursing assistants help them with these activities in whatever way necessary. The level of help they need to give their patients during these activities will vary depending on their condition.
Nursing assistants give whatever assistance is necessary to help their patients groom themselves in the morning and at night. This may mean performing mouth care activities, such as brushing their teeth, or helping patients dress and put on makeup.
Nursing assistants need to keep their patients’ rooms and spaces clean and free of clutter. This often means changing linens when necessary and making sure that clothes and other personal belongings are put away.
Patients with illnesses or injuries often have to perform range of motion exercises to build up their strength or maintain what movement they have. Nursing assistants often remind them to perform these exercises and help when necessary.
Nursing assistants often work with patients who have mental limitations and must monitor these patients to ensure that they remain safe and secure at all times.
Nursing assistants usually work in hospitals, hospices, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and clinics. Basically, they work in any environment that cares for people when they’re ill or injured.
Some individuals in this profession also work in the community and drive to the homes of clients to provide care and assistance when they need it. These types of positions have become more popular lately as the elderly and people with chronic illnesses often prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Nursing assistants can give them the help they need to do that.
Nursing assistants can give sick and elderly patients the personalized and practical care that other medical professional cannot. Because their job is to see to the practical and physical needs of their patients, they often have more time to spend making sure that their clients are safe and comfortable. This takes some of the pressure off other medical professionals who can then focus on medical treatments.
Nursing assistants also act as a primary source of social contact and support for their patients. Because they spend so much time with their client tending to their daily needs, they tend to become a confidant and a friend. For people who are ill, old or alone, this can be a great comfort and source of support.
These two professions are often lumped together, but in reality they are quite different. Medical assistants tend to focus more on administrative and procedural preparation than they do on the activities of every day care. This means that they prepare patients for treatments and complete the necessary paperwork.
Because of these responsibilities, they tend to have a more short term relationship with their patients. In contrast, Nursing assistants give their patients assistance on a more day to day basis, helping make their lives comfortable in any way possible.
Medical assistants can be found in the same settings as nursing assistants, such as hospitals and nursing homes, but also work in doctors’ offices and clinics preparing patients for procedures and treatments. Their education and licensure requirements are also quite different. Although most states do not have formal education requirements for people in this profession, most potential employees prefer that they have specific post-secondary education and training.
Students in a nursing assisting degree program learn a number of subjects, skills and techniques. These include but are not limited to the following:
For someone who want to move into medicine, becoming a nursing assistant is often the entry point. Working in this position allows one to learn the basics required to advance to higher levels. It is also a good way to make some money while they undertake further training.
To become a nursing assistant completing a training program that takes around 8 weeks is usually required. To be accepted into these courses, applicants usually have to have a high school certificate or qualifying marks on math and reading competencies. There are often additional entry requirements as well involving a general health check, tuberculosis screening and proof of vaccinations.
These courses are offered by a variety of schools and usually contain both classroom training and a clinical rotation. During this rotation, students will be put into a nursing environment and encouraged to show their practical skill development. This combination of theoretical and practical training is meant to equip students with the practical skills and the medical knowledge necessary to cope with the demands of this career path.
The requirements for certification vary by state, but in most areas applicants must register with their state health department and pass a written exam after they complete their training program.
When students have successfully completed these stages they are allowed to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant. This process is mandatory and essential for certification, though some states will allow students to work uncertified for a short time while they are going through this process.
With recent technological advances, online training has become more popular and it is no different for students who want to work as a nursing assistant. There are a variety of online training programs available that allow students to learn the theoretical underpinnings of the job in their own home and at their own pace. These programs allow students to get the qualifications they need even if they have to work full time or care for their family at the same time.
The requirements for these courses vary from state to state but most of them require a combination of classroom hours and clinical hours. Because this job demands so many practical skills, it is impossible for the whole course to be online. A certain amount of it has to be spent actually putting the theory into practice and nursing patients or performing nursing procedures.
Being a nursing assistant is a very hard job mentally, physically and emotionally. Individuals who work in these types of positions need to be strong in every way and have a combination of skills and qualities to do their job well. Some of the most important skills they need to have include:
There are a number of benefits to becoming a Nursing Assistant including the following:
There is a very high demand for nursing assistants in a variety of medical settings. According to the BLS, employment in this field will grow at least 5 percent between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
The demand for nursing assistants is likely to grow the fastest in the nursing home setting as the average lifespan increases and more people need assistance in their later years. This means that these medical professionals will need more medical knowledge and understanding to help them cope with patients with complicated medical conditions and needs. Training in dealing with dementia and other mental disorders that affect this age group will also become more important as time goes on.
Nursing assistants are entry level health workers, so there is literally nowhere to go but up from this level. There are several advancement options for people who work in these positions. Committing to extra training usually means expanding basic skills and taking on more responsibility. Doing this means better pay, more opportunities and better benefits.
The most common pathway for these professionals to take is to undergo further training to become Licensed Practical Nurses. These courses typically take one year to complete and include both theoretical and practical components.
Students who want to go further can complete an Associate degree and become a Registered Nurse. This can take as little as 2 years, and offers even better pay and benefits as well as lots of opportunities to move into more advanced roles.
There are a number of medical positions that are similar to that of Nursing Assistants. Some of these are:
Orderlies work in the same medical settings but are usually focused less on patient care and more on transporting patients and keeping treatment areas as clean as possible.
Medical assistants assist with clinical and administrative tasks in hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics. Their duties are more medical than those of nursing assistants as they help with examinations and testing. Because of this strong medical focus they usually need to complete some medical training to be considered for this position.
Occupational therapists work with patients to maintain their quality of life and help them return to normal functioning where possible. They do this by prescribing exercises and working on patients’ social skills and mental health with a range of therapies and treatments.
Physical therapy assistants often work very closely with Nursing Assistants. They work under physical therapists to help patients regain their mobility after illnesses or injuries. They do this by helping patients exercise the affected part of their bodies and giving them moral support and encouragement. They also perform a range of administrative and clerical duties.