If you have ever had a medical emergency, a nurse assistant probably cared for you. The nurse assistant aids medical professionals by taking care of basic patient needs, so that doctors and nurses can provide advanced medical treatment. The nurse assistant, or aide, may feed, clothe or bathe a patient. She may take the patient for therapeutic walks. She may perform basic medical functions, such as taking the patient’s temperature, pulse or blood pressure. If you enjoy caring for people, a career as a nurse’s aide may be the right choice for you.
As a nurse’s assistant working in a nursing home, you may be the primary caregiver for your patient, according to the Degree Directory website. You will wake your patient in the morning and ask him how he is feeling. You may take his vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature. If your patient can walk, you will help him to the bathroom and make sure he has everything he needs to bathe himself. For non-ambulatory patients, you will bathe and dress them and perform routine hygiene functions, such as shaving and combing their hair. Other duties includes feeding your patients; changing bed linens; and turning patients who cannot move to prevent bedsores. Nurse assistants work directly under a nurse who is generally a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
Depending on your facility's job requirements, you may take your patients to and from medical testing and procedure appointments. You may change bandages for your patients and collect patient bodily specimens. Your job requires keen observation skills because you are required to report your patient’s condition to your supervisor. This includes noting changes in both physical and emotional states.
While performing your job duties, you may encounter adverse conditions, such as finding a patient who has soiled himself. It is your job to clean him and make him comfortable. You may also have to assist patients in getting out of bed. Make sure you follow proper procedure and never lift a patient by yourself. Your training includes how to use lift machines and how to strap a patient in safely and comfortably. Some patients may resist allowing the machine to hoist them from their beds; calm your patients and reassure them that they will not fall. Take the time to talk to your patient and gain his trust, so he knows you will not allow harm to come to him.
Not all nurse’s assistants work in nursing homes. Another career option is working with pregnant mothers and newborn babies as a delivery nurse’s assistant. Your duties include caring for the mom-to-be and preparing the delivery room. You may clean, feed and clothe the newborn after birth. As a surgical nurse’s assistant, you help prepare the operating rooms and sterilize medical instruments.
Liz Jones is a freelance writer with extensive experience in a variety of areas, including digital imaging and the food industry. Jones has been writing professionally for three years. She attended the Pennsylvania State University where she majored in Astro Physics.