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Registered Nursing Assistant


Nurses are some of the most important members of the health care team, who do everything from counsel pregnant teenagers to resuscitate heart attack victims. They work in hospitals, emergency rooms, schools, nursing homes, and with private home care companies.

There are actually many types of nurses, all with varying levels of education, training, and responsibilities. Registered nursing assistants work alongside registered nurses, assisting them with routine patient care, physical treatment, and providing comfort, calm and a friendly atmosphere for patients. Registered Nusing Assistants are also know as Licensed Practical Nurses (L.P.N.).

The majority of registered nursing assistants will find themselves at work in hospitals and nursing homes. They deal with patients who are in the hospital for tests, operations, and assessments, as well as long-term residents. They help with treatments, which may include taking temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration, along with treating bedsores, preparing injections and enemas, applying dressings, giving alcohol rubs and massages, applying ice packs and hot water bottles, and inserting catheters. They may also be required to collect samples for tests, help with dressing and bathing, and feed the patients who are too weak to feed themselves. They also ask questions about symptoms and reactions to medications. They help keep the patients' records up-to-date, and inform the doctors about the patients' conditions. Finally, registered nursing assistants assist in monitoring the patients. They communicate regularly with the patients, reassuring them, and keeping the patients up to date on their health and treatments.

Working as a registered nursing assistant is an extremely stressful job, especially for those in critical and emergency care. Nursing assistants in hospitals work long, hard hours, including weekends, holidays, and over night. Some work exclusively with the elderly, others with infants and children. Registered nursing assistants are critical members of the health care team. They become well-known to the patients, and the support and care they give helps the patients' recoveries just as much as the medications.
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Brightwood College

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs Offered:
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Medical Assistant
  • Vocational Nursing
  • And more...



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming a registered nursing assistant? This career requires flexibility as well as physical and emotional stability. A sense of humor, a strong set of morals, and a desire to help others are also important qualities. Registered nursing assistants must be organized and patient. They are good communicators and be able to connect with children, the elderly, and everyone in between. They are self-starters who work well independently. They are compassionate and able to motivate and inspire others. They need to be confident, and able to make good decisions, even under stress.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Massage, bathe, and visit with patients
  • Provide direct care to patients
  • Monitor patients
  • Administer some medication and treatments
  • Participate in planning care
  • Update charts and files
  • Discuss patients with doctors and nurses
  • Assist in controlling communicable disease outbreaks
  • Registered nursing assistants spend much of each day actively working with patients in a variety of environments. They do routine checkups and administer some medication. Their days are spent mostly indoors, where they meet with patients and consult with other health care practitioners.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Registered nursing assistants can work for the government in community health centers, public schools, and clinics. They work in hospitals, doctors' offices, or in the homes of patients and clients. Their hours can range from regular, set schedules to erratic, on-call and evening work, depending on the type of work they are involved in. They usually work under the direction of a registered nurse. Like anyone working in health services registered nursing assistants face health risks. They are exposed to infectious diseases, chemicals, and back injuries, and must take care and be cautious each and every day.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Registered nursing assistants can work in a number of environments, including hospitals, seniors' homes and group homes. They may return to school to become fully licensed registered nurses, and may specialize in critical care, operating rooms, emergency work, and public health services. Those registered nursing assistants who don't want to work in the public sector can work in private organizations which provide health-care related services, or can be self-employed. They can specialize in an area like health education, infant care, teen sexual health, or communicable disease control. They can also travel the world with international relief organizations.

  Educational Paths  
In order to become a registered nursing assistant, a one- to two-year community college program in nursing assistance is required. Once this is completed, prospective nursing assistants will be required to pass a examination in order to register in the profession. Some people also choose to volunteer some time in a hospital setting to make sure this is the type of work they would enjoy.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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Brightwood College  Online

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs Offered:
Campus Locations:
  • San Diego, CA

Platt College  Online
Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
Programs Offered:
  • Certified Nurse Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
  • Respiratory Therapy
Campus Locations:
  • Alhambra, CA

UEI College  Online

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
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  • Dental Assistant (8-Month Diploma Program)
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Campus Locations:
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Unitek College  Online

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assisting
  • Vocational Nursing
Campus Locations:
  • Concord, CA

Intercoast Colleges  Online
Get your career started with Intercoast Colleges.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant
Campus Locations:
  • Fairfield, CA

California College San Diego  Online

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Specialties (AOS)
Campus Locations:
  • National City, CA

National Career College  Online
Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse
Campus Locations:
  • Panorama City, CA

Milan Institute  Online
Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assisting
Campus Locations:
  • Bakersfield, CA

Institute of Technology  Online

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

Programs Offered:
  • Professional Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Office Administration
Campus Locations:
  • Modesto, CA

Mayfield College  Online
Give your career a boost with an education from Mayfield College.
Programs Offered:
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Campus Locations:
  • Cathedral City, CA

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