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Become A Registered Nursing Assistant

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Working As A Registered Nursing 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

  • $34,673

    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
Registered Nurse Supervisor Nursing Director
Chief Nursing Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner Adjunct Professor Consultant Dietitian
Dietary Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Nurse Manager Case Manager Admissions Coordinator
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner PRN Direct Support Professional
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Assistant Companion Activities Director
Life Enrichment Director
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Physician
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Instructor Operations Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Nurse Manager Case Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Nursing Director Clinical Coordinator Intake Coordinator
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Home Health Aid Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Clinical Supervisor Program Director
Service Director
10 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Supervisor Unit Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Charge Nurse Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Nurse Manager Nurse Manager Nursing Director
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Registered Nursing Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Registered Nurse 5.2 years
Nursing Attendant 3.8 years
General Duty Nurse 3.1 years
Nursing Home Aide 2.9 years
Top Employers Before
Staff Nurse 18.6%
Nurse 3.9%
Cashier 3.9%
Internship 1.9%
Volunteer 1.8%
Top Employers After
Staff Nurse 12.2%
Nurse 2.8%
Cashier 2.1%
Volunteer 1.8%

Do you work as a Registered Nursing Assistant?

Registered Nursing Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

85.4%

Male

12.9%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

68.7%

Hispanic or Latino

12.5%

Black or African American

8.5%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

3.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.9%

French

5.3%

Mandarin

5.3%

Portuguese

2.6%

Filipino

2.6%

Dutch

2.6%

Ilocano

2.6%

Japanese

2.6%

Russian

2.6%

Armenian

2.6%

Tagalog

2.6%

Urdu

2.6%

Cantonese

2.6%

Hmong

2.6%

Hindi

2.6%
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Registered Nursing Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.7%

Minnesota State University - Mankato

7.2%

Grand Canyon University

5.8%

Walden University

5.0%

Hennepin Technical College

5.0%

Indiana Wesleyan University

5.0%

Eastern Washington University

4.3%

Saint Cloud Technical College

4.3%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.3%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

4.3%

Rasmussen College

4.3%

University of Washington

4.3%

University of South Alabama

4.3%

Chamberlain College of Nursing

4.3%

Lake Superior College

4.3%

Kaplan University

4.3%

Century College

4.3%

Ridgewater College

3.6%

George Mason University

3.6%

Bemidji State University

3.6%
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Majors

Nursing

64.5%

Nursing Assistants

5.8%

Business

4.8%

Medical Assisting Services

4.1%

Health Care Administration

3.2%

Education

2.2%

Psychology

2.2%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.8%

Biology

1.5%

Nursing Science

1.4%

Family Practice Nursing

1.2%

Medical Technician

1.1%

Accounting

1.1%

Management

0.9%

Pharmacy

0.9%

General Studies

0.7%

Computer Information Systems

0.7%

Health Education

0.6%

Human Resources Management

0.6%

Clinical Psychology

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

31.0%

Associate

24.5%

Other

18.8%

Masters

15.4%

Certificate

6.3%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

1.5%

License

0.7%
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Top Skills for A Registered Nursing Assistant

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  1. Vital Signs
  2. RN
  3. Surgery
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Cleansed surgical sites, accurately obtained/charted patient vital signs and transported patients.
  • Instruct adult-learner population at the college-level within the medical assistant program to include both classroom and laboratory instruction.
  • Consulted and actively assisted in opening a freestanding surgery center as Director of Nursing.
  • Assist nurse in administration of medications, wound care, and other requested procedures.
  • Take vital signs*Give Baths/Showers*Help residents with meals*Assist with HS cares* Help residents perform ADL's

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Top Registered Nursing Assistant Employers

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