Nurse aides, also called nursing assistants or certified nursing assistants, orderlies, or hospital attendants, provide hands-on care and perform a variety of duties under the
direction of nurses and medical staff. Duties can include answering patients’ bed calls, delivering messages, serving meals and making beds. Nursing assistants also feed, bathe and dress patients; take temperatures; and help patients get around. Some aides help other medical staff by setting up equipment, storing and moving supplies, and assisting with some procedures. Those who work in the home care setting may also clean, do laundry, shop, plan and prepare meals.
Nursing assistants who work in long-term care facilities are often the main caregivers and have more contact with residents than do other members of the staff. Because some residents stay in the facility for months or even years, aides develop positive, caring relationships with their patients.
- Long-term care facilities
- Assisted living facilities
- Home health agencies
- Public health agencies
- Private duty
Work as an aide can be physically demanding. Aides spend many hours standing and walking, and they often face heavy workloads. Aides must guard against back injury by following proper moving and lifting procedures when helping patients. They must also follow strict infection control guidelines to protect themselves and their patients from the risk of infection.
Employment of nurse aides is expected to increase 18 percent between 2008 and 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. The growth will largely be due to the long-term care needs of an increasing elderly population.
- Ability to work with a variety of people
- Ability to work with people who are ill
- Ability to learn the methods and procedures of patient care
- Ability to respond quickly in emergencies and keep accurate records
- Average verbal and numerical skills
- Ability to move often from one task to another and to use several different skills
- Good space and form perception and manual dexterity
In many cases, a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary for a job as a nurse aide. Some employers require aides to have completed a formal course; some provide classroom instruction for new hires; others provide informal on-the-job instruction by a licensed nurse or an experienced aide. The Nebraska HealthCare Association offers a course for nurse aides.
To work in a Nebraska nursing home or in home health, an individual must be on the Nebraska Nurse Aide Registry. To be eligible, the individual must be at least 16 years old and must complete a minimum of 75 hours of State-approved training and pass a competency evaluation. Aides who complete the program are known as certified nursing assistants or CNAs, and are placed on the State registry of nurse aides.
“A lot of facilities, especially long-term care facilities, are offering tuition reimbursement.” says Tasha Pfenning, MSN, RN. “So if you’re choosing to use a Nursing Assistant [position] as a stepping stone to help you determine if you want to go into healthcare, a lot of companies are not only paying you for the time you’re working, but also paying for other college credits that will help you continue on in health care.”
Programs in Nebraska
All programs are Certificate programs
- BryanLGH College of Health Sciences – Lincoln
- Central Community College – Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney
- Clarkson College – Omaha
- Metropolitan Community College – Omaha
- Midland Lutheran College – Fremont
- Nebraska Methodist College – Omaha
- Northeast Community College – Norfolk
- Southeast Community College – Beatrice, Lincoln
- Western Nebraska Community College – Scottsbluff, Alliance, Sidney
Related / Links
Other careers that help people who need routine care or treatment include:
- Licensed practical nurse
- Medical assistants
- Occupational therapy assistants
- Registered nurses
- Human services worker
- Nebraska Nurse Aide Registry – For information about training to become a CNA, where you can take State-approved classes, practice exams, as well as information about CNA duties in various type of work settings
- Nebraska Healthcare Association – The NHA provides an approved book for nurse aides.
Career information adapted in part from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handook, 2010-2011 Edition, Nurse Aides, on the Internet at www.bls.gov