Nurse Aide



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Nurse Aide


Description

No one likes to spend time in the hospital. It can be a frightening and often lonely experience. It is easy to feel lost in the shuffle when nurses and doctors are bustling by, and patients are being wheeled in. Nurse aides provide a valuable service to patients, making them feel comfortable in unnerving situations such as this, even if it is as simple as bringing a patient some water, a magazine, and a clean set of sheets.

Nurse aides work alongside doctor, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses. Nurse aides look after the most basic needs of patients. They don't dispense medication, but they do ensure that patients are comfortable. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, and also with agencies, providing home health care to people who require vigilant monitoring.

Nurse aides who are self-employed, or work with an agency, spend more time working alone, but they do experience greater freedom than nurse aides in hospitals, who are under supervision of the nursing staff and the doctors. That said, it is also those aides working in hospitals who get the most opportunities to learn new things, are exposed to more techniques, and may learn to clean wounds, monitor intravenous fluids, and administer breathing or feeding tubes.

Nurse aides are important, no matter where they work, but those who work in the homes of the patients are increasingly so. Nurse aides make it possible for these people to live within familiar surroundings, instead of being admitted to a hospital. Living at home can be a factor in the good health of the elderly and traumatized or injured children.

This line of work can be stressful, distressing, and depressing. Unlike other branches of health care, nurse aides form close relationships with the patients, many of whom are terminally ill. That is why only truly compassionate, strong, and grounded individuals are encouraged to get into this type of work.
 
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UEI College

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

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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$14,518
 
Median Salary:
$19,947
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$28,163

  Interests and Skills  
Nurse aides need to be strong, both physically and emotionally. They must have the physical strength to lift and turn patients as needed. Nurse aides are caring, empathetic, and determined to help people. They feel comfortable working with the very ill, the elderly, and the families of patients. They are good at following instructions and protocol. Nurse aides have good listening and communication skills. It is imperative that people pursuing this career are sensitive to the needs of people from a variety of backgrounds.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Help patients with daily activities such as dressing, eating, and washing
  • Change bed linen
  • Serve food and drinks, feeding patients when necessary
  • Supervise exercise routines
  • Collect specimens for tests
  • Take patients' vital signs
  • Interact with patients
  • Clean medical equipment and instruments
  • Supply and empty bed pans
  • Perform clerical and phone duties.
  • Maintain inventory of supplies
  • Tidy patients' homes
  • Grocery shop for patients
  • Nurse aides have a variety of responsibilities, depending on where they work, and the patients they work with. Generally a typical day will involve working closely with patients, assisting them in daily tasks, as well as preparing for operations, examinations, and visits. Nurse aides will work closely with their patients, as well as meet regularly with a supervisors or senior nursing staff to discuss patient issues. Nurse aides who provide home care travel throughout their communities, while nurse aides in hospitals spend most of each day indoors in the same building.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Nurse aides work in hospitals, seniors' care facilities, and with agencies which provide home care service to people requiring assistance. They can work full- or part-time. They may work odd hours, including evenings and weekends, due to their patients' schedules. Generally, they work alone with the patients, but report regularly to supervisors and management. Like any work in the health care field, there is some exposure to disease, toxic chemicals, and body fluids, and the nurse aide must take necessary precautions at all times.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Many nurse aides specialize in a specific area of health care, and assist psychiatric patients, the elderly, children, or focus on home care or hospital work. Some go on to become registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, therapists, and social workers. They can also start up their own agencies, and supervise nurse aides.
 

  Educational Paths  
There are no specific training programs for nurse aides, although some regions offer nurse aide programs at some colleges. Some nursing aide agencies hire staff with first aid training and experience working with others. Some people take licensed practical nursing training, or look for other related courses. Some agencies and hospitals may require aides to have some supervised training as well. It is important to call various agencies and hospitals to find out about employer expectations.
 

Sources:
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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