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Become A Registered Nursing Assistant

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Working As A Registered Nursing Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $67,490

    Average Salary

What Does A Registered Nursing 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 Registered Nursing 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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Registered Nursing Assistant jobs

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Registered Nursing Assistant Career Paths

Registered Nursing Assistant
Registered Nurse Charge Nurse Staff Nurse
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Nursing Director
Chief Nursing Officer
14 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Clinical Coordinator Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Clinical Manager Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Phlebotomist Respiratory Therapist
Director Of Clinical Education
11 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Nursing Director
Director Of Staff Development
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Charge Nurse Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Supervisor Nurse Manager
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor Chairperson
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Nursing Director Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse
Patient Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Clinical Manager Practice Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager Clinical Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Nurse Senior Technician Specialist Licensed Practical Nurse
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Registered Nurse Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Nursing Director Instructor Personal Trainer
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Registered Nursing Assistant Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    86.2%
  • Male

    12.4%
  • Unknown

    1.4%

Ethnicity

  • White

    83.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    8.8%
  • Asian

    6.4%
  • Unknown

    1.3%
  • Black or African American

    0.4%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    66.7%
  • Portuguese

    4.8%
  • Filipino

    4.8%
  • Ilocano

    4.8%
  • Japanese

    4.8%
  • Hindi

    4.8%
  • Tagalog

    4.8%
  • Urdu

    4.8%
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Registered Nursing Assistant

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Registered Nursing Assistant Education

Registered Nursing Assistant

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Top Skills for A Registered Nursing Assistant

RNSurgeryVitalSignsFacilitySafetySurgicalProceduresTelephoneTriageEmergencySituationsIVClinicalStaffHealthCareADLCarePlansBloodPressureDailyLivingActivitiesPersonalCarePatientEducationInfectionControlChargeNurseMedicationAdministration

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Top Registered Nursing Assistant Skills

  1. RN
  2. Surgery
  3. Vital Signs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Investigated, documented and reported unusual occurrences concerning patients and staff, keeping RN Section Manager informed of all pertinent activities.
  • Consulted and actively assisted in opening a freestanding surgery center as Director of Nursing.
  • Cleansed surgical sites, accurately obtained/charted patient vital signs and transported patients.
  • Ensured that elderly and dementia patients of our residential health facility were cared for on a daily basis to State standards.
  • Partnered in successful falls safety pilot, demonstrating strong commitment to quality/team building.

Top Registered Nursing Assistant Employers