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Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides, help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.
You must complete a state-approved education program in which you learn the basic principles of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. These programs may be found in high schools, community colleges, technical schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. You then typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training to learn about your specific employer’s policies and procedures. After completing a state-approved education program, you will take a competency exam.
Communication skills are necessary as you must communicate effectively to address patients’ or residents’ concerns and relay important information to other healthcare workers. Additionally, having compassion is an important quality of a nursing assistant as you must care for the sick, injured, and elderly with an empathetic attitude. You must have patience to complete tasks as they can be stressful and tedious. As a nursing assistant you spend lots of time on your feet, so you should have some physical stamina, allowing you to be comfortable performing tasks such as lifting or moving patients.
After two years, you may expect to have completed the schooling for this job and may move forward to complete on-the-job training. You may choose to obtain a higher level of training to dispense medication if you are interested.
After five years, you may expect to have completed all forms of on-the-job training and may be considered an experienced nursing assistant.
After ten years, you may expect to continue your education and advance into other healthcare occupations such as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.