Nursing assistants help nurses and other healthcare staff in attending to patients’ care needs in a variety of settings – nursing homes, hospitals, and hospices among them. They usually work under the supervision of a registered nurse, and may work on a part-time, as-needed, or full-time basis.
Generally speaking, nursing assistants work indoors, though in some settings, such as nursing homes, duties may include such tasks as pushing residents’ wheelchairs outside or in an enclosed courtyard setting, so that the resident may get fresh air. Largely, though, the duties of a nursing assistant consist of such activities as checking or changing wound dressings, assisting with bathing, dressing and grooming, and checking and recording vital signs.
Most often, nursing assistants are required to hold the CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, designation. While some companies hire a candidate who is still in training or hasn’t yet started training, the expectation is almost always that the certificate will be completed within the first few months of employment. Depending on the state, CNA training usually takes about six months to complete and requires both classroom time and clinicals. In addition, most states have a specific license for CNAs that is gained through an exam and background check once the CNA training is completed.
Nursing Assistant Tasks
- Position, feed, bathe, dress and assist patients with grooming and other tasks.
- Observe patients' conditions, measure and record food and liquid intake and output and vital signs, and report changes to professional staff.
- Assists with direct patient care under the supervision of the RN or other medical professionals.
- Provide patients with help walking, exercising, and moving in and out of bed.