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Career profile Nursing Assistant

Also known as Certified Medication Aide (CMA), Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Certified Nurses Aide (CNA), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA), Nurses' Aide, Nursing Aide, Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Assistant (PCA), State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA)

Nursing Assistant

Also known as Certified Medication Aide (CMA), Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Certified Nurses Aide (CNA)

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$22,750 - $42,110 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Service Orientation
  • Active Listening
  • Social Perceptiveness
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
  • Medicine and Dentistry
Core tasks
  • 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.
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What does a Nursing Assistant do?

Nursing Assistants provide or assist with basic care or support under the direction of onsite licensed nursing staff.

In addition, Nursing Assistants

  • 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.

What kind of tasks does a Nursing Assistant perform regularly?

Nursing Assistants are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • 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.
  • Measure and record food and liquid intake or urinary and fecal output, reporting changes to medical or nursing staff.
  • Document or otherwise report observations of patient behavior, complaints, or physical symptoms to nurses.
  • 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.
  • Remind patients to take medications or nutritional supplements.
  • Undress, wash, and dress patients who are unable to do so for themselves.
  • Review patients' dietary restrictions, food allergies, and preferences to ensure patient receives appropriate diet.
  • Observe or examine patients to detect symptoms that may require medical attention, such as bruises, open wounds, or blood in urine.
  • Supply, collect, or empty bedpans.
  • 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.
  • Lift or assist others to lift patients to move them on or off beds, examination tables, surgical tables, or stretchers.
  • Gather information from caregivers, nurses, or physicians about patient condition, treatment plans, or appropriate activities.
  • Prepare or serve food trays.
  • Wash, groom, shave, or drape patients to prepare them for surgery, treatment, or examination.
  • Change bed linens or make beds.
  • 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.
  • Assist nurses or physicians in the operation of medical equipment or provision of patient care.
  • Clean and sanitize patient rooms, bathrooms, examination rooms, or other patient areas.
  • Record height or weight of patients.
  • Transport patients to treatment units, testing units, operating rooms, or other areas, using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds.
  • Collect specimens, such as urine, feces, or sputum.
  • Provide information, such as directions, visiting hours, or patient status information to visitors or callers.

The above responsibilities are specific to Nursing Assistants. More generally, Nursing Assistants are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What is a Nursing Assistant salary?

The median salary for a Nursing Assistant is $30,850, and the average salary is $32,050. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Nursing Assistant salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Nursing Assistants earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Nursing Assistants earn less than $22,750 per year, 25% earn less than $26,650, 75% earn less than $36,990, and 90% earn less than $42,110.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Nursing Assistants is expected to change by 8.3%, and there should be roughly 187,000 open positions for Nursing Assistants every year.

Median annual salary
$30,850
Typical salary range
$22,750 - $42,110
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
8.3%

What personality traits are common among Nursing Assistants?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Nursing Assistant are usually higher in their Social, Conventional, and Realistic interests.

Nursing Assistants typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Nursing Assistants typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Nursing Assistants typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Nursing Assistant tend to value Relationships, Support, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Nursing Assistants strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Nursing Assistants moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Nursing Assistants moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Nursing Assistants must consistently demonstrate qualities such as concern for others, self-control, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Nursing Assistants, ranked by importance:

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Nursing Assistants need?

Nursing Assistants often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Nursing Assistants usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Nursing Assistants

  • 10.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 36.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 32.9% completed some college coursework
  • 11.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 7.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Nursing Assistants

Nursing Assistants may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, administration and management, or medicine and dentistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Nursing Assistants might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Nursing Assistants

Nursing Assistants must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Nursing Assistants need abilities such as oral comprehension, problem sensitivity, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Nursing Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

Critical Skills needed by Nursing Assistants

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Nursing Assistants frequently use skills like service orientation, active listening, and social perceptiveness to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Nursing Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.