How to Become a Nurse Assistant

Do you enjoy working with people and making a difference in their lives? Are you interested in medical science and human health? If so, and if you are not yet qualified to be a registered nurse, you may want to explore a career as a nurse assistant. Hospitals, assisted-living facilities, and nursing homes are places where compassionate, friendly, caring nurse assistants are in-demand. This career field is rewarding and varied, allowing you to find the particular speciality or niche you want to focus on for your employment.

What education and experience are needed? 

Most healthcare employers want nurse assistants who at minimum have completed their GCSEs, particularly in maths, science, and English. Additionally, people entering this field should have word processing abilities and basic technological skills. 

However, if you want to stand out to prospective employees when you apply for a position, you should have a completed diploma in nursing assisting. ICI’s Nursing and Patient Care Assisting courses can help you learn all aspects of health and wellness, medical terminology, and rehabilitation and community nursing. Within 31 weeks, you can complete the program and find employment prospects as a nurse assistant. 

What are the roles and responsibilities?

Nurse assistants provide support for registered nurses who are caring for disabled or elderly people, often in long-term care. The primary role of an assistant is to help nurses in assessing and interacting with patients. As such, a nurse assistant’s responsibilities are varied and widespread. Those duties may include:

  • Administering medication to patients.
  • Recording patients’ vital signs, such as temperature or blood pressure.
  • Assist patients with basic needs, including eating, bathing, grooming, and dressing. 
  • Evaluate patients’ current health and report changes to a nurse.
  • Effectively use medical technology such as medical record charting software, billing software, and health information software.
  • Collect and record patients’ information and treatment plan as provided by doctors, nurses, and caregivers.
  • Clean patients’ rooms, including changing bed sheets, cleaning bedpans, and restocking the room with needed supplies.
  • Storing and setting up medical equipment. 
  • Dressing wounds. 
  • Assisting patients with elimination needs.
  • Answering patient calls for assistance.
  • Check patients for wounds, bruises, injuries, or blood in urine.
  • Turning or repositioning patients.
  • Helping patients in their homes by changing bed sheets and cleaning living areas and bathrooms.
  • Providing assistance to nurses for patient transportation, moving medical devices, setting up patients’ rooms, and laying out tools.

A nurse assistant’s responsibilities often depend on the head nurses’ level of need and employment location. Ultimately, no matter if a nurse assistant is working in a hospital or adult day care centre, they should be a liaison between the patient and the nurse.

What personality traits do you need?

Nurse assistants require certain personality traits to care for patients and interact professionally and effectively with nurses, doctors, and other medical colleagues. These character traits are the most important for nurse assistants to possess:

Patience and compassion

A nurse assistant often works with sick or elderly people who are in pain or disabled. Therefore, having both patience and a compassionate nature are critically important to this role. Additionally, nurse assistants must assist patients with time-consuming tasks such as feeding or bathing. Patience when caring for infirmed or ill individuals is necessary to establish healthy relationships with patients and provide them with the best care possible.

Attention to detail

For the sake of a patients’ health, nurse assistants need a high level of meticulousness. A keen attention to detail keeps patients safe, especially in regards to medication dosages and dietary instructions. Nurse assistants must also carefully attend to a patient’s physical care keeping accurate reports of vital signs and patient condition.

Emotional and physical strength

Many aspects of a nurse assistant’s job involve cleaning up accidents, changing bed sheets, and emptying bedpans, all of which require a level of emotional maturity. Nurse assistants must also have the emotional strength to withstand the death of patients.

Significant parts of a nurse assistant’s job involve physical activity. Work shifts often involve standing and walking for hours. Nurse assistants often need to turn patients over and move them into wheelchairs or from one room to another. 

Cooperative communication skills

A nurse assistant should have excellent oral and written communication skills. Communicating patient requests clearly to nurses and doctors is a key responsibility of this position. Nurse assistants also must share with patients a doctor’s orders in a manner that will encourage cooperation. 

Knowledge and training

Practical and professional expertise through educational programs and experience make for a knowledgeable and employable nurse assistant. Many tasks that a nurse assistant performs require both learned knowledge and training, such as taking a patient’s blood pressure or temperature. 

Knowledge of the best practices for a patient’s personal care, including washing, bathing, dressing, and eating, are also important to this field. Nurse assistants should know how to administer medications to patients as well as how to move them safely without injury to themselves or others. 

Start your career as a nurse assistant today.

Are you interested in becoming a nurse assistant? If so, enrol in ICI’s Nursing and Patient Care Assistance courses. Classes are taught by experienced professionals who will give you the knowledge and training you need to become a nurse assistant. Don’t wait to make a difference in people’s lives and enrol today.

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Gladys Mae

Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.