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Career Profile: Nursing Assistants

Provide or assist with basic care or support under the direction of onsite licensed nursing staff. Perform duties such as monitoring of health status, feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, or ambulation of patients in a health or nursing facility. May include medication administration and other health-related tasks. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides, and nursing attendants.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 1,396,700 people employed as nursing assistants in the United States. The median annual salary is $30,900. Entry level employees earn approximately $22,750 per year and senior employees earn approximately $42,110 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Provide physical support to assist patients to perform daily living activities, such as getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, standing, walking, or exercising.
  • Document or otherwise report observations of patient behavior, complaints, or physical symptoms to nurses.
  • Remind patients to take medications or nutritional supplements.
  • Review patients' dietary restrictions, food allergies, and preferences to ensure patient receives appropriate diet.
  • Undress, wash, and dress patients who are unable to do so for themselves.
  • Observe or examine patients to detect symptoms that may require medical attention, such as bruises, open wounds, or blood in urine.
  • Exercise patients who are comatose, paralyzed, or have restricted mobility.
  • Restock patient rooms with personal hygiene items, such as towels, washcloths, soap, or toilet paper.
  • Clean and sanitize patient rooms, bathrooms, examination rooms, or other patient areas.
  • Assist nurses or physicians in the operation of medical equipment or provision of patient care.
  • Record height or weight of patients.
  • Transport patients to treatment units, testing units, operating rooms, or other areas, using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds.
  • Turn or reposition bedridden patients.
  • Answer patient call signals, signal lights, bells, or intercom systems to determine patients' needs.
  • Feed patients or assist patients to eat or drink.
  • Communicate with patients to ascertain feelings or need for assistance or social and emotional support.
  • Record vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, or respiration rate, as directed by medical or nursing staff.
  • Gather information from caregivers, nurses, or physicians about patient condition, treatment plans, or appropriate activities.
  • Wash, groom, shave, or drape patients to prepare them for surgery, treatment, or examination.
  • Prepare or serve food trays.
  • Change bed linens or make beds.
  • Measure and record food and liquid intake or urinary and fecal output, reporting changes to medical or nursing staff.
  • Lift or assist others to lift patients to move them on or off beds, examination tables, surgical tables, or stretchers.
  • Supply, collect, or empty bedpans.
  • Collect specimens, such as urine, feces, or sputum.
  • Provide information, such as directions, visiting hours, or patient status information to visitors or callers.
  • Position or hold patients in position for surgical preparation.
  • Set up treating or testing equipment, such as oxygen tents, portable radiograph (x-ray) equipment, or overhead irrigation bottles, as directed by a physician or nurse.
  • Administer medications or treatments, such as catheterizations, suppositories, irrigations, enemas, massages, or douches, as directed by a physician or nurse.
  • Apply clean dressings, slings, stockings, or support bandages, under direction of nurse or physician.
  • Stock or issue medical supplies, such as dressing packs or treatment trays.
  • Explain medical instructions to patients or family members.
  • Transport specimens, laboratory items, or pharmacy items, ensuring proper documentation and delivery to authorized personnel.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
1,396,700
Annual Openings:
187,000
Increase in Openings by 2030:
8%
Annual Salary Range:
$22,750 - $42,110
Education Requirements:
Some college