Certified Nursing Assistants help care for ill, injured, disabled or infirm individuals confined to hospitals, nursing or residential care facilities, and mental health settings. Nursing Assistants work under the supervision of nursing and medical staff.
Typical duties include personal patient care such as bathing, feeding, and dressing, as well as support functions which include transporting patients, making beds, and answering patient calls. Clinical duties include taking vital signs, massages, helping patient to become ambulatory, and observation for signs of medical change. Nursing assistants employed in nursing homes are also called Geriatric Aides. They are often the principal caregivers, having far more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Since residents may stay in a nursing home for months or even years, aides are expected to develop ongoing relationships with them and respond to them in a positive, caring way.
Job prospects for nursing aides are always good. Employment of nursing aides is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in response to an emphasis on rehabilitation and the long-term care needs of a rapidly growing population of those 75 years old and older. Employment will increase as a result of the expansion of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for people with chronic illnesses and disabling conditions, many of whom are elderly. Also, increasing employment of nursing aides combined with advancements in modern medical technology which while saving more lives, increases the need for the extended care provided by aides. As a result, nursing and personal care facilities are expected to grow very rapidly and to provide most of the new jobs for nursing aides. Employment also is expected to grow very rapidly in residential care facilities. Replacement needs will constitute the major source of openings for aides. Turnover is high, a reflection of modest entry requirements, low pay, and lack of advancement opportunities.