At First Response Medical Training, we enable students to acquire the skills and knowledge needed for entry-level positions. Our program is also designed to help students prepare for the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) exam. CNAs have a demonstrated level of proficiency that is sought by many prospective healthcare employers.
Beyond having technical skills and medical knowledge, nursing assistants are usually required to work well in a team environment and possess personal attributes such as tact, patience, dependability and good physical health.
With skill and compassion, nursing assistants play a vital role in healthcare. Enrolling in a nursing assistant education program can set you on the course for an entry-level position in a hospital or nursing facility, with the opportunity to enhance the lives of patients every day. If you’re interested in joining the expanding allied health field, becoming a nursing assistant can get you started in healthcare.
What Is the Role of a Nursing Assistant?
While many people are familiar with the role nurses play in patient care, some may ask, “What is a nursing assistant?” Nursing assistants can be found wherever there is a need for personal patient care. Also known as nursing aides, these professionals perform basic day-to-day tasks to support the entire medical team in properly caring for ill, injured or disabled people.
Nursing assistant job duties vary, but typically involve a great deal of hands-on contact. These healthcare workers are often responsible for helping patients with basic functions such as dressing, bathing and eating. Nursing assistants may also help patients in and out of bed, take them for walks, help them into wheelchairs and assist them with exercises. Other nursing assistant duties might include taking and recording vital signs, monitoring nutrition and hydration and reporting changes in patients’ mental or physical condition to other members of the medical team.
Within some nursing facilities, nursing assistants may serve as patients’ primary caregivers. In this role, they are often expected to provide social and emotional support to their patients. Whereas nursing assistants in hospitals may work with different patients every day, a long-term care environment often fosters closer relationships between nursing assistants and their patients.
At most facilities, nursing assistants work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or other medical staff. Qualified nursing assistants are relied upon to provide basic care, which frees up RNs and LPNs to perform more complex tasks and procedures that may require advanced training.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of nursing aides, orderlies and attendants is projected to grow faster than the average occupation, with a 19% increase in available jobs between 2008 and 2018.*
BLS reports suggest that nursing aide employment will grow predominantly as a response to the increasing long-term care needs of a growing elderly population. The agency notes that rising admissions to nursing home facilities will create new jobs, as will scientific and technological advances that increase the lifespan of the general population.