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Become A Patient Care Assistant

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Working As A Patient Care Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $25,710

    Average Salary

What Does A Patient Care Assistant Do

Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides, help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.

Duties

Nursing assistants provide basic care and help with activities of daily living. They typically do the following:

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat

Some nursing assistants also may dispense medication, depending on their training level and the state in which they work.

In nursing homes and residential care facilities, assistants are often the principal caregivers. They have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Because some residents stay in a nursing home for months or years, assistants may develop close relationships with their residents.

Orderlies typically do the following:

  • Assist patients with moving about the facility, such as pushing wheelchairs
  • Clean equipment and facilities
  • Change linens
  • Stock supplies

Nursing assistants and orderlies work as part of a healthcare team under the supervision of licensed practical or licensed vocational nurses and registered nurses.

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How To Become A Patient Care Assistant

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program and must pass their state’s competency exam. Orderlies generally have at least a high school diploma.

Education and Training

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program in which they learn the basic principles of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. These programs are found in high schools, community colleges, vocational and technical schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.

In addition, nursing assistants typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training to learn about their specific employer’s policies and procedures.

Orderlies typically have at least a high school diploma and receive a short period of on-the-job training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing a state-approved education program, nursing assistants take a competency exam. Passing this exam allows them to use state-specific titles. In some states, a nursing assistant or aide is called a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), but titles vary from state to state.

Nursing assistants who have passed the competency exam are placed on a state registry. Nursing assistants must be on the state registry to work in a nursing home.

Some states have other requirements as well, such as continuing education and a criminal background check. Check with state boards of nursing or health for more information.

In some states, nursing assistants can earn additional credentials, such as becoming a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA). As a CMA, they can give medications.

Orderlies do not need a license, however, many jobs require a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, which shows they are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Nursing assistants and orderlies must be able to communicate effectively to address patients’ or residents’ concerns. They also need to relay important information to other healthcare workers.

Compassion. Nursing assistants and orderlies assist and care for the sick, injured, and elderly. Doing so requires a compassionate and empathetic attitude.

Patience. The routine tasks of cleaning, feeding, and bathing patients or residents can be stressful. Nursing assistants and orderlies must have patience in order to complete these tasks.

Physical stamina. Nursing assistants and orderlies spend much of their time on their feet. They should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or moving patients.

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Patient Care Assistant Jobs

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Patient Care Assistant Career Paths

Patient Care Assistant
Medical Assistant Office Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Nurse Staff Nurse
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Technician Unit Secretary Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Personal Care Assistant Registered Nurse Nurse Manager
Career Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Instructor Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Delivery Driver Direct Support Professional
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Phlebotomist Instructor Assistant Professor
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Nurse Case Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Resident Assistant Sales Consultant Leasing Consultant
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Phlebotomist Medical Technologist Licensed Practical Nurse
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Program Coordinator Social Worker
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Office Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Technician Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Personal Care Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Patient Care Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Care Provider 2.5 years
Home Health Care 2.4 years
Nurses' Aide 2.3 years
Care Associate 2.2 years
Patient Escort 2.0 years
Care Partner 2.0 years
Resident Care Aide 1.9 years
Patient Sitter 1.5 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 16.3%
Teller 3.0%
Volunteer 2.6%
Internship 2.2%
Server 2.2%
Waitress 2.0%
Top Employers After
Cashier 7.3%
Teller 1.9%

Do you work as a Patient Care Assistant?

Patient Care Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

84.0%

Male

13.7%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

63.9%

Hispanic or Latino

13.5%

Black or African American

12.3%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

67.7%

French

7.6%

Hmong

2.7%

Russian

2.1%

Somali

1.9%

German

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Hindi

1.7%

Chinese

1.7%

Italian

1.5%

Portuguese

1.5%

Mandarin

1.3%

Cantonese

1.3%

Polish

1.1%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Urdu

0.8%

Swahili

0.6%

Bengali

0.6%

Tagalog

0.6%

Japanese

0.6%
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Patient Care Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.8%

Grand Canyon University

6.2%

Ashford University

5.5%

Houston Community College

5.4%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

5.2%

Kaplan University

5.2%

Shelton State Community College

5.1%

University of Cincinnati

4.9%

Remington College

4.8%

Columbus State Community College

4.2%

Concorde Career College

4.1%

Cuyahoga Community College

4.0%

Rasmussen College

3.8%

Everest Institute

3.8%

Rochester Community and Technical College

3.7%

Saint Cloud State University

3.2%

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

3.0%

University of Alabama

2.9%

Liberty University

2.9%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.9%
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Majors

Nursing

31.6%

Medical Assisting Services

12.4%

Nursing Assistants

8.9%

Business

8.5%

Health Care Administration

7.2%

Psychology

4.1%

Criminal Justice

3.5%

General Studies

3.4%

Medical Technician

2.9%

Biology

2.2%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.9%

Human Services

1.8%

Education

1.6%

Pharmacy

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.5%

Health Sciences And Services

1.5%

Social Work

1.4%

Accounting

1.4%

Mental Health Counseling

1.3%

Management

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

39.4%

Bachelors

20.8%

Associate

17.9%

Certificate

9.0%

Masters

6.4%

Diploma

4.1%

License

2.0%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Top Skills for A Patient Care Assistant

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  1. Personal Care
  2. Blood Pressure
  3. Vital Signs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Job Duties included going into private residential homes and doing daily activities such as housekeeping, cooking, and personal care.
  • Recorded temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates, food and fluid intake and output, as directed.
  • Obtained vital signs and delivered medication through intramuscular injections.
  • Assisted patients with ADL (activities of daily living), dispensed routine medication, admitted and discharged patients and transports.
  • Determined PCA program eligibility and developed Care Plans for eligible clients.

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Top Patient Care Assistant Employers

Jobs From Top Patient Care Assistant Employers

Patient Care Assistant Videos

Patient Care Technician Jobs

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