Nursing assistants need a unique combination of attentiveness, reliability, and specialized training. They are the people with whom patients will be interacting the most and are responsible for the daily comfort and care of patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Their duties include feeding and bathing patients, changing linens, and recording their ailments. They also reposition patients in their beds and move them from those beds to wheelchairs. Above all, they should be warm, compassionate people who enjoy caring for people day-to-day. Bonds often form between nursing assistants and their patients.
As the healthcare industry continues to expand, in large part due to the aging of the population, opportunities for nursing assistants will increase. Many of these positions will be in hospitals, as nursing homes often have to limit their staff due to a tight budget. Applicants should therefore be comfortable in the often hectic and frenetically-paced atmosphere of hospitals and be able to follow instructions. Work schedules usually amount to around 40 hours a week over three to four days. Ideal candidates will therefore be able to work long hours, remain calm and attentive, and perform tasks they may find unpleasant or monotonous.
Nursing assistant positions require a minimum of a high school diploma, but some require certifications through nursing assistant programs. Some nursing assistants can become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) by studying under a program designed to prepare them for the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) exam. Two tests commonly used by healthcare providers in order to ensure their nursing aides are dependable, trainable, and have patient-friendly personalities are the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) and the Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP). The CBST measures basic verbal, math and communication skills, and the CSAP measures a series of traits including diplomacy, cooperativeness, and patience. When combined, the two tests can be very useful in identifying candidates most likely to succeed as nursing assistants.
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Rank in HireSelect:
30 out of 1,100
Median wage in U.S.:
Expected growth rate 2012-2022:
Number employed (2014): 1,427,740
Education level of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs):