Do you want to work in an industry where you help people every day?
Working in the medical field is a great way to do that.
However, becoming a doctor or nurse practitioner can take years of schooling.
You don’t have time for that if you want to start your career right away.
There are careers you can get into with minimal schooling. That way you can quickly start helping people and make a reliable income.
One of the career paths available to you is that of a nursing assistant. It’s a career where you will always be able to find a job.
According to research, the UK is in need of more nursing assistants. There are too many jobs and not enough assistants!
But, what exactly do they do? Read on to learn about the role of a nursing assistant.
As a nursing assistant, you will be helping patients with their basic needs
Your work will include helping people with day-to-day tasks like bathing, eating, and dressing.
Other basic needs are:
- helping patients in the bathroom
- grooming, such as combing hair and keeping nails trimmed
- repositioning wheelchair or bed bound patients
- taking patients out to activities like meals or socializing
It’s important to be kind and understanding while helping patients this way.
You are seeing people at their most vulnerable. It can be embarrassing to need help doing these private or simple activities.
A nursing assistant has to be comfortable with helping patients with those tasks.
If you’re comfortable, the patient will be too.
Your patients could be people recovering from a major surgery.
Your patients could be elderly or sick. According to research, 63% of people receiving in-home care are 65 or older.
If you are assisting a patient in their home, you might have to help with housework
You might not know that this is something you’ll have to do as a nursing assistant.
It possibly won’t be part of your job description.
However, if you are helping someone in their home, it could be.
Obviously, if your patient needs help with basic activities, they will need help keeping their home clean.
What you might have to help with depends on the job assignment.
Expect having to move bed-ridden patients so you can change their sheets.
Also keeping bathrooms and living areas clean. It’s an important part of the job.
A clean living situation will keep the patient more comfortable.
Whether you’re giving care in the home or not, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your patient.
This will give you the opportunity to get to know them. They’ll also learn to trust you.
It’s very important that they do. You will be the person they go to with concerns.
A good nursing assistant listens to patients and keeps tabs on their health
A nursing assistant is there to assist the RN supervisor.
One way to be of help is to be the RN’s eyes and ears.
You’ll be spending a lot of time with the patient. You have the ability to get to know them in a way that the RN won’t have time to.
Take advantage of this time. Ask questions and listen to how they’re feeling.
You should also be paying attention to any changes. Are they eating less? Does their pain seem worse?
Often times, patients keep important information to themselves. They also might not notice changes in the first place.
Maybe they don’t notice that they have a loss of appetite. That could be a symptom of a bigger problem.
This is information that the RN should have. It might end up saving the patient’s life.
That’s why checking in with patients is an important part of being a nursing assistant.
You’ll also be keeping track of their health in other ways.
Taking patients’ vital signs is a big part of your job
You could be taking vital signs like blood pressure or temperature.
With some patients, you will be routinely taking these vitals and recording them.
While this seems like a simple job, it’s a very important one.
Writing down these vital signs accurately is something that will help both doctors and nurses.
If there’s a drastic change, you’ll be the first one to report to a supervisor.
Often you’ll be taking a patients’ vitals when they first arrive at your hospital or practice.
This will be the patients’ first impression of your workplace. It’s important to make it a good one.
A patient could also be scared or feeling sick. As a nursing assistant, you should be a calming presence.
It will be helpful to keep the patient relaxed especially if they’ll be having a procedure.
Another responsibility is to help the supervisor with some procedures
Are you interested in someday learning to become a registered nurse? Then observing and helping with procedures is a great time to learn.
It’s also a way to see if you would even be interested in furthering your training.
You might be setting up medical equipment. Sometimes they’ll have you move heavy medical devices from one room to another.
Your supervisor might have you lay out tools they’ll need. This allows them to quickly set up exam rooms in between appointments.
You could be allowed to help in an actual procedure.
This depends on where you are working and the laws in that area.
Based on your training, you might be allowed to take the patient’s blood.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that you’d like to train to be an RN while you work as an assistant!
Did you find this article helpful in your decision to become a nursing assistant?
Let us know in the comments if you think becoming a nursing assistant is for you!
Still curious about different types of nursing?
Check out our other articles, like “The Role of a Nursery Nurse.”
Maybe you’re interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse? We have a great article on how to pursue that.
Look to us for all of the nursing resources you need!