Being a nursing assistant offers the satisfaction of helping people, while earning a decent income.
The primary duties of a nursing assistant is to assist doctors and senior nurses with general patient care. Many use this position as a stepping stone to a higher position in the healthcare field. Taking an entry level nursing assistant position also helps a person determine if working in the healthcare field is something they really want to do. Although the position does offer personal satisfaction, it also involves a lot of work.
Some of the traits that are needed to be a nursing assistant are patience, a strong work ethic and compassion. This is because many of the people they care for are very, very ill. Some patients can also be hard to deal with because of their illness, which is why an extra dose of patience is needed. It should also be pointed out that nursing assistants have to sometimes change bed pans and adult diapers, which is a task not many people want to do.
In terms of job schedules, nursing assistants often have to work odd hours, holidays and weekends.
In order to become a nursing assistant you must complete several courses and earn a professional certification or diploma. Most nursing assistant programs last from ten to twelve weeks.
Before enrolling into any program, make sure you carefully research the school. The first thing you want to check for is state and industry accreditation. Because if you enroll in an unaccredited school, your diploma or certification will not be valid.
The next thing you want to check is to make sure that the school offers an internship program. Having an internship program is very important because this is how students get their experience. These internships are typically at private doctor offices and hospitals. If the student does a good job as an intern, they are usually offered a full time job after they graduate. So a school that has strong partnerships in the medical community is very important.
In terms of pay, the current average salary for a nursing assistant is between $9 and $11 per hour. The level of pay can increase if the nursing assistant has an additional specialized skill or certification. This can be something related to critical patient care or technology.