Become a Nurse Assistant If you enjoy helping other people, a career in the medical field might be for you. The field is always in demand of qualified compassionate individuals who are willing to put forth their best efforts to help others. A Nurse Assistant is an entry level position that will allow you the opportunity to help others and gain experience in the medical field. Since Nurse Assistants are needed throughout the Nation, you will be able to secure employment opportunities most anywhere. Job security is very high in most areas of the medical field. The training programs to earn your certificate all vary depending on state regulations. However, most can be completed in four to six weeks on average. The cost of such programs is very low. If you need assistance with the cost of the course, many programs offer scholarships or financial aid. In addition, many community agencies such as Human Services will assist you with the cost of completing such a training course. Some employers in the medical field will agree to either pay for your Nurse Assistant training or reimburse you upon successful completion of the program. Most Nurse Assistant programs start every six to eight weeks. It will depend on the length of the course and the interest in your particular area. This is different than most certificate programs where you have to wait until a full semester ends before you can enroll. Sometimes that can mean a three or four month waiting period. During your Nurse Assistant training, you will attend a classroom learning environment as well as receive hands on training. The hands on training requires you to complete a certain number of hours, called clinicals, working at a medical facility with actual patients. All of your work will be overseen by trained professionals who with assist you with the proper procedures and medical understanding. The combination of classroom learning and clinicals will result in you being well prepared to enter the job market as a Nursing Assistant. Often, the medical site that oversees the clinicals will offer employment to those students who are learning well, following procedures for their facility, and who have a positive attitude. Working as a Nurse Assistant can be very exciting and rewarding for the right person. The work is challenging and you may find yourself over extended at times. Things in a medical setting will change all the time, so the job definitely isn't predictable. There are so many variables including the patients, then number of patients, other staff, and the medical needs of the patients that you work day with never be predictable. While being a Nurse Assistant is an entry level position, it is also a very important position. You will be responsible for many daily living tasks for each patient. These tasks include bathing, grooming feeding, and checking their vital signs. You will also be responsible for assisting with medical equipment and moving patients as needed. The exact requirements of the position will vary depending on the facility you work for. Becoming a Nurse Assistant generally does not take very long. You will continue to learn about your role as a Nurse Assistant once you secure employment. You will be exposed to medical information and procedures by the rest of the staff. This information will be very valuable. Many people choose to use the role of Nursing Assistance as a foundation to continue their education and become a Nurse or to explore other types of employment in the medical field. Why Choose to Become a Nurse Assistant? With so many possible careers to choose from, why choose to become a Nurse Assistant? It is a very exciting career that offers you the chance to work with people and to work in the medical profession. You will be able to work at a variety of medical facilities all over the Nation. Nurse assistants are in high demand, so securing employment is often very easy. Being a Nurse Assistant is a great opportunity for anyone who enjoys helping other people. There is a lot of pride in this profession, and it is understandable. After all, at the end of the day, how many of us can truly say we spent our day helping others on the road to being about to help themselves. It is a rewarding career. A Nurse Assistant is a great bridge between the patients and the Nursing staff. In addition to taking great care in providing all patients with quality assistance with basic needs, a Nurse Assistance is able to offer patients and their families emotional support. The Nursing staff depends on the Nurse Assistants to properly report vital signs for all patients, to check on the patients regularly, assistance with setting up medical equipment, and to help move patients when necessary. While some people view a Nurse Assistant as lower level staff, the Nurses in any medical facility appreciate and understand just how vital nursing Assistants are for them to be able to provide a high level of care. With shortages of medial staff in most all facilities, Nurse Assistants take care of many important issues that allow the Nursing staff to focus on larger issues that need to be addressed. For those of you who do not enjoy the same routine day after day, being a Nurse Assistant offers you a job where things change daily. While the basic fundamentals of what you need to accomplish remain the same, what takes place on any given day will never be predictable. Being a Nurse Assistant is not a position that just anyone is willing or able to do. It takes a special type of person to be able to complete their tasks with compassion, dedication, and patience on a daily basis. It also takes a passionate desire to help others. You need to have excellent communication skills. You will be required to communicate with the patients, their families, and numerous other medical staff members. Since Nurse Assistants help patients with their basic needs including bathing, eating, and getting dressed; the patients sometimes display their feelings of resentment and anger at needing such assistance towards the Nursing Assistants. This sometimes exposes Nursing Assistants to physical and emotional abuse. It is important that you understand this can happen, and take steps to reduce the risk and the effects of such occurrences. All medical facilities have procedures in place for dealing with such issues. It is important that you take the time to make yourself familiar with such polices and procedures. Choosing to become a Nurse Assistant is a decision to be a dedicated and helpful member of society on a daily basis. Throughout your career in this type of position, you will touch the lives of many forever. It is your responsibility to ensure that every patient in your care feels like they were important to you and not just another face for you to see throughout your day. Being a Nursing Assistant can lead to a Career as a Nurse A Nursing Assistant certificate allows you the opportunity to secure employment at entry level in the medical field. This position requires compassion and dedication to assisting others. It also requires a high level of effective communication as well as attention for detail. Most people entering the Nursing Assistant profession find it to be a rewarding and challenging career. However, many choose to use it as a building block for becoming a Nurse. The program for becoming a Nursing Assistant is very fast compared with the time it takes to earn a degree in Nursing. Therefore, many see it as a logic choice to gain experience in the medical field. It is an excellent idea for those that aren't sure if Nursing is for them. It is better to spend four to twelve weeks in training to find out then to spend two or more years working on a Nursing degree. There are individuals who must maintain employment while pursuing their education degree for financial reasons. For individuals in this position, completing the Nursing Assistant program offers them a way to secure employment that is related to what they are going to school for. Others choose to advance their career once they have been working as a Nurse Assistant because they see many of the tasks Nurses are responsible for. It is a level of responsibility they wish to acquire. Since they work so closely with the Nursing staff, it is a perfect opportunity to explore more of what takes place. Others have a sincere desire to further their education, but for a variety of reasons have not been able to. There is a significant pay difference between working as a Nursing Assistant and having a degree as a Nurse. The dollar amount varies based on location, but on average the difference is $4 to $9 per hour more. It doesn't take long at all for the overall income difference to be seen. Nursing assistants often decide that they want to work in the medical field, but definitely want to be paid more for their work. Of course, the level of responsibility differs greatly between a Nursing Assistant and a Nurse. Working at a medical facility as a Nursing Assistant can work to your advantage when you decide to pursue a degree in Nursing. It might help you get into the program if there is more interest in the program than enrollment opportunities. Due to the continuous demand for qualified trained professionals in the area of Nursing, most medical facilities will support you in your efforts to further your education. They will often adjust your work schedule to accommodate you whenever possible. Tuition assistance programs are offered by many employers in the medical field. They work in a variety of ways. Some will cover a percentage of your tuition; others will pay up to a particular dollar amount. Often, you will be required to agree to work for them for a particular length of time or have to reimburse them for any tuition paid on your behalf. Others won't pay anything while you are attending school, but will offer tuition reimbursement upon completion of your Nursing degree. Another advantage of working as a Nursing Assistant prior to obtaining your degree in Nursing is you will have an edge over other recent graduates. You will have work experience to offer in combination with your degree while many others will only have their degree. Employers like to maintain their quality employees. If you are able to show outstanding work ethic as a Nursing Assistance, it is very likely they will offer you a position as a Nurse upon your completion of your degree. This often depends on the job openings at the medical facility you work for. Your certificate and work experience as a Nurse Assistant can help make career opportunities appear. It may peak your interest in returning to school to work on your Nursing degree for a variety of reasons. It can help you be accepted to a Nursing program, as well as help you secure employment after completing your Nursing degree. Duties of a Nursing Assistant Most of us are familiar with Nursing Assistants, but we don't really know all that is required for them to complete their work efficiently and of the best quality. Time restraints can often make it difficult to decide to do a job better or to get more done. Thus, having an outstanding work ethic is of the utmost importance. Nursing Assistants must also have excellent communication skills. They are required to have interactions with patients, family members, Nurses, and a variety of other medical professionals. It is imperative that they are able to effectively reply and communication that needs to take place with these various types of individuals. It is widely known that Nursing Assistants provide basic are for patients including feeding, bathing, and dressing. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when you take a look at all the various duties involved in being an effective Nurse Assistant. While the specific duties will vary according to the medical facility you work for, there are some that are found in most every one. Bathing is generally either a shower or a bed bath depending on the level of care the patient requires. Personal hygiene including combing hair, brushing teeth, applying makeup, cleaning dentures all needs to be done for each individual patient. Shaving is also to be taken into consideration, and completed as needed. Taking patients vital signs are a daily requirement of Nursing Assistants. Taking vital signs includes temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure. This information that is recorded on the patients chart, and reviewed by the Nursing staff and other medical professionals. For patients requiring assistance with eating, the routine can take 20-60 minutes depending on the abilities of the patient and how much food they consume. The Nursing Assistant needs to document the type of food and drink consumed and the quantities of each on the patient's chart. Some patients will need to take vitamins and other nutritional supplements, also the duty of the Nursing Assistant to administer. It is also the duty of the Nursing Assistant in many medical facilities to be responsible for getting those who can feed themselves ready to be taken to the dining area. This may just be having their grooming done or helping to lift them into a wheelchair and take them to the dining area. Nursing assistants will need to change any bedding or other soiled materials if found on the patient. This is a case by case basis and will vary each day. While interacting with the patient, you will need to document their behaviors. It is important that you notify the Nurse on duty if you see any changes that are unexpected or not generally seen. You will be trained in what to look for. Keeping a sharp eye for details will assist any Nursing Assistant with successfully performing all duties. Caring for people changes because their needs change as well as those you are caring for changes. How quickly you are caring for new patients depends on the type of medical facility you work for. In addition to performing all of these essential duties, Nursing Assistants are responsible for providing emotional support to patients and their families. This can be helping patients feel comfortable with their surroundings, hanging a photo on the wall for them, or helping them compose a letter. Family members may want you to certain things for a patient such as braid their hair daily or keep their fingernails short. Performing all the duties of a Nursing Assistant takes practice, dedication, organization, and a sincere desire to help others. It can be an exhausting effort on some days, and often a job no one thanks them for doing. However, for those who enjoy what they do and take pride in it, we need to stop and see all that they do in a days work. They provide valuable services to patients and the medical profession. Work as a Nursing Assistant Offers Opportunity to Explore Medical Field Employment as a Nursing Assistant offers you a unique opportunity to explore many avenues of the medical field. You will primarily be working with the patients, their families, and the Nursing staff. However, it is not uncommon that you will have interactions with many other areas including physicians, X-Ray, surgery, specialists, and emergency staff. Since you will be working with so many types of individuals, having quality communication skills is a vital quality to have for being an effective Nursing Assistant. You will be responsible for meeting the basic needs of your patients including feedings, bathing, and dressing. They level of care with vary depending on the individual needs of the patient. In addition, you will be providing them and their family with emotional support. Your position will involve working closely with the Nursing staff on a daily basis. This will be the medical professionals you deal with the most. From providing vitals for all patients to offering assistance with whatever comes up, the nursing staff needs to know they can rely on you. This means showing up as scheduled, completing your tasks to the best of your ability, paying attention to detail, and being willing to work as part of a time. Depending on the type of medical facility you work in, physicians of the patients may be stopping in to check on them. They often as questions of the Nursing Assistant. For some, this is intimidating. If a physician is asking you for information on a patient, take it as a compliment. Physicians often recognize Nursing Assistants as having more one on one interactions with the patients. Therefore, things that you observe can help them with treating the patient. For example, a doctor may prescribe a new medication. You will be able to let the physician know if the appetite of the patient has changed as well as if the patient's level of being coherent has changed. Working in the medical profession, you will be exposed to a variety of other staff from different medical fields. This is because of the changes in the needs of your patients. You may be asked to take patients to X-Rays or to help get them prepared to be moved to the surgery unit. There will be an array of specialists checking on patients, again based on the individual needs of those you are serving. Working with emergency staff is very important. Their interactions can make all the different in some situations. It is vital that you are trained on when emergency staff should be called. You need to have detailed information of where to call, who to call, and what information to give them. This should all be secured prior to any event actually happening. In this type of situation, you will need to work with emergency staff to provide information. Anything you can tell them about the events that occurred as well as the events before the incident took place can be of importance. The role of a Nursing Assistant is one of many hats. You will have the opportunity to provide quality care for patients as well as be exposed to many other arenas of the medical field. The more you are able to effectively communicate with these other professionals, the better service you will be providing to those in your care. The Pay Scale for Nursing Assistants Nursing Assistants are a valuable part of our medical facility staff. They offer ongoing care to patients at level most other staff don't have the time to. They tend to basic needs of bathing, feeding, and dressing. They also provide emotional support to the patient and the family. Nursing Assistants are expected to help other medical staff at a moments notice with a variety of tasks including setting up medical equipment and getting patients ready to be taken for X-rays and surgery. Most people entering the Nursing Assistant field don't do it for the pay. They do it out of a desire to be of assistance to others in need as well as a desire to work in the medical field. Since medical facilities rank Nursing Assistant as an entry level position, they pay is very low compared to others, especially nurses. This can lead to some Nursing Assistants feeling angry, upset, and unappreciated. The median expected salary for a Nursing Assistant in the United States is $24,383. On average, that is approximately $2,000 per month. That amount varies by experience and job location. As you can see, it does pay more than minimum wage and often employees in this field are able to secure health insurance and retirement plans. However, when you compare that to the median salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse, which is $43,333, you can see a huge different. While it is understood that the Licensed Practical Nurse position holds more responsibility and well as requires more schooling and training, we can also see why some Nursing Assistants feel that they aren't earning enough. It is also common that the better a Nursing Assistant is paid, the more pride they take in offering quality services to all patients. Many health care facilities understand this, and work hard to keep Nursing Assistants content. They try to give raises as they can for performance as well as the length of time on the job. They understand that Nursing Assistants are vital to the overall balance of the Nursing staff. They also realize finding qualified employees is hard enough without having to continually interview and train new staff. Since Nursing Assistant jobs are plentiful, they can lose their good employees to other facilities who offer better pay. Due to the pay difference, some individuals choose to go to school directly into a degree program and skip the Nursing Assistant certificate program all together. For those wanting to ease in the doorway of the medical profession and those who need the income while in school, the Nursing Assistant program is still very valuable to them in terms of having an income and being in a learning environment of the medical field. The pay scale difference can often result in issues arising between Nursing Assistants and the Nursing staff. On one side, you have Nursing staff feeling that they have a degree and shouldn't have to participate in particular tasks. Others just are overwhelmed by time restraints, and therefore keep their job segregated from that of the Nursing Assistants. On the other side you have Nursing Assistants who feel their tasks are harder and they aren't getting paid nearly as much as the Nursing staff. This can lead to them developing feelings of resentment towards the Nursing staff. This being said, it is important for administration to help both the Nursing staff and Nursing Assistants interact and appreciate each other. Seeing that pay difference as well as wanting to participate in more advances areas with the patients has lead many Nursing Assistants back into training to earn a degree as a Licensed Practice Nurse, a Registered Nurse, or another specified area in the medical field. Medical facilities and the government agree that when medical staff is short, the patients are the ones who suffer the most. It is no different in the area of Nursing Assistant. If they positions aren't filled, the patients may not get all of their needs met daily. For example, some nursing homes only bathe the patients every other day because of short staff issues. The government is trying to find funding to help increase the rate of pay for Nursing Assistants. However, they feel that they pay isn't the only issue. It is believed that healthcare facilities need to start showing Nursing Assistants more respect, appreciation, and recognition for their hard work. This profession has one of the highest turn over rates do to demanding work conditions, feelings of being under valued, and lower pay than most feel they are worth. The result is healthcare facility patients feeling the burden in part because of the pay scale for Nursing Assistants. Nursing Assistant Licensing Requirements For those interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, obtaining your certification as a Nursing Assistance can be exactly what you are looking for. While the specifications for licensing vary by state, all programs have basic elements. First, you must be able to pass a background check. This is for the safety of all patients and other staff. Some states only look at felony convictions, while others look for reckless behaviors including harassment, domestic violence, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Most programs also require a GED or High School diploma. Nursing Assistant programs are generally run by healthcare facilities and local colleges. Contact any such facility for a listing of up coming classes in your area. Generally, the courses run from four weeks to twelve weeks in length. You will be required to complete a set amount of hours of classroom time as well as a set amount of hours of clinicals. These clinicals are hands on practice that takes place at a medical facility. You will not be paid for your hours worked during this training program. Federal law requires a minimum of 75 hours in any program, all of which must be supervised by a qualified Registered Nurse. Upon completing all of your classroom hours and clinical training, you will then be required to take a Certified Nursing Assistant exam. This exam is held periodically throughout each state. Some agencies will allow you to secure employment as a Nursing Assistant during that period of time between completing the program and your scheduled exam. Often, verification of program completion and verification that you are registered to take the test are sufficient. This comprehensive exam is made up of two parts, written and clinical. The written part of the test is said to be mainly common sense. The clinical portion will require you to perform a number of techniques that you will be using in your job. You Nursing Assistant program instructor will inform you of items you should be well skilled in for the exam. In addition, forming your own study group and taking online practice tests can help you feel confident as the date of the test arrives. The Nursing Assistant licensing requirements are designed to ensure everyone obtaining a certification from the program is properly trained in policies and procedures. Precautions are taken for the safety of the patients, their families, and other medical staff members. It is important to understand that the program will only help you to learn the basics of the job. The specific job requirements will depend on the facility you are working for. You will receive either orientation or on the job training at each medical facility you begin employment with in the area of Nursing Assistant. With the demand for Nursing Assistants very high right now, it is an excellent career to pursue. The demand is anticipated to continue growing, with the biggest demands being in facilities caring for the elderly. This is the result of people living longer on average. If you have any questions about the Nursing Assistant licensing requirements in your state, contact your state Medical Board by phone or online. The interest also provides you will additional information on licensing, classes, and career development in the area of Nursing Assistant. Nursing Assistant College Options Now what you have decided to start looking into a career as a nursing assistant you will want to consider your options for obtaining the education you need to go into your newly chosen field. There are many options to consider when deciding to go into nursing assisting as a career choice. Many city and state level colleges will offer programs to help you start as a Nursing assistant however one of the more popular methods for obtaining a nursing assistant certification is through a vocational or career training school. Some of the more popular Nursing training schools are St. Augustine Educational Services which can be found at http://nursingassistant.us, Concorde career colleges which can be found at www.Concorde.edu, and also another very popular school is Bryman college at www.Go2BrymanCollege.com While you can expect to make good money as a Nursing assistant, some of the schooling to get you started will be an expense that you need to seriously consider and plan for. During the research that we did when writing this article we found that on average Nursing assistant school vocational colleges ranged between $2500 and $6,000 to give you the certification that you need to get started right away. A few schools have all expenses included however others do have material fees of up to $2500 which will want to be considered when making your choice an educational institution. A few schools such as American career colleges www.americancareer.info offer not only Nursing assistant educations but also dental assistant, pharmaceutical, x-ray, and nursing educations all under one roof. One of these type schools might be a great choice for you if you're not 100% sure that a career as a Nursing assistant is your final destination. By going to a college or career center that offers multiple medical field positions you will be putting yourself in a great position to see exactly what all of your options are when considering a career in the health industry. A school such as this also would be a great place to continue your education after receiving your certification a Nursing assistant, to possibly move up to a carrer as a RN or even possibly continue your education in the future to become a doctor. Starting now and an industry that is growing as rapidly as the health care industry is in today's world is a great way to insure you will have the skills necessary to maintain an excellent career in the health field. With the skills you are about to learn as a nursing assistant you'll find jobs are not hard to find if you are skilled and professional at your newfound craft. There's a great sense of self-satisfaction to be had in knowing that you're doing something that helps other people and improves the quality of life for many. One area to consider if you like children is to specialize in medical practices that cater specifically to children. Specialized practices like this are a great way to carve yourself into a niche area of the market that is always guaranteed to be highly profitable and busy. Working with children can be one of the most rewarding parts of a nursing career and I highly recommend it as a specialty area for anyone considering a career in dentistry that also has a fondness of children. So whether you're deciding to go into nursing assistant career college as just a stepping stone for a career as a Nurse or doctor, or if working as a Nursing assistant is to be your final destination I want to say congratulations on your choice to look into the Nursing assistant field and may have much success in your endeavors. Prepare for the Certified Nursing Assistant Exam Pursing a certificate as a Nursing Assistant is a very exciting adventure. The curriculum generally lasts from four to twelve weeks depending on the requirements in your state. Federal regulations require a minimum of seventy five hours of training. You Nursing Assistant course will be composed of classroom training, practicing what you learned on mannequins and each other, and clinicals that involve working with actual clients in a medical facility under the supervision of a Registered Nurse. Upon completing your certification, you will be required to take the Certified Nursing Assistant Exam. Most states require you to sign up for the test within ninety days of completing all course work. Your program is set up to specifically teach you the fundamentals you will need on the job as well as to pass the exam. It is your responsibility to ask for clarification of any areas you are unsure of prior to taking the Nursing Assistant exam. While the Certified Nursing Assistant Exam requirements will vary from state to state, most are very similar in structure and content. The test is made up of two parts -- written and clinical. The written portion of the test will contain questions about basic concepts and procedures. Your course textbooks and class notes are excellent studying resources. The clinical portion of the exam requires you to demonstrate anywhere from three to five Nursing Assistant skills you should have mastered during your program. You will need to perform these skills for a state examiner who will be watching your every move. These skills involve hand washing, privacy, dignity, providing a bed pan, re-positioning a patient in their bed, grooming, taking a patient's temperature, and completing a linen change with the occupant still in the bed. While hand washing, privacy, and dignity may all seem like common sense areas to many of us, they are very important. Since most communicable diseases can be eliminated by proper hand washing, this skill is absolutely necessary. Providing all patients with privacy and dignity are the cornerstone of any area of the medical profession. They are relevant to the many duties of Nursing Assistants. Most people are very nervous about this portion of the test, but practicing correct processed during your program and on your own will help you be prepared. Forming study groups with classmates is an excellent way to practice for both the written and clinical portions of the test. There are also study guides available and online practice tests. The state examiner understands that exams are stressful and make people nervous. They will be watching to see how you react under stress and pressure because these skills are also important for Nursing Assistants to acquire. Passing your Nursing Assistant exam is very important. Some employers will hire you once you have completed the program, but you must provide verification that you also passed your state exam within a specified timeframe to maintain that employment. Most states will allow you to find out right after the exam if you have passed or not. You will have the opportunity to retest if you don't pass the first time. There are rules regarding how many times you can take the test, the length of time between each testing, and the cost to retest. These things all vary by state guidelines. Precautions Nursing Assistants Should Take Being a Nursing Assistant is a very rewarding career for those who choose to enter the medical field with a thirst for knowledge and a dedication to helping others. Your Nursing Assistant course, clinicals, and trainings often don't prepare you for precautions you need to take. Most employers don't either. Therefore it is the responsibility of every Nursing Assistant to learn about them on their own. One of the hardest parts of being a Nursing Assistant is taking direction from many other staff on the medical team. They are to report directly to the Nursing staff. It is not uncommon for each Nurse to have a slightly different way they want things to be done. This makes the job of the Nursing Assistant even more challenging. You need to be willing to stand up for yourself and the other Nursing Assistants. If this type of issue is ongoing in the medical facility you work at, go to the charge Nurse. Explain why the changes among the Nursing staff are confusing and counter productive. Most charge Nurses will look into the situation, and help put policies, procedures, and trainings into place so that all staff knows exactly how something needs to be done. Nursing Assistants are often required to life patients while bathing, dressing, or even getting them ready to go eat. It is important that you are properly trained in this procedure, or you can injury your back or other body parts. You also run the risk of causing injury to the patient. Since medical facilities are often short staffed, Nursing Assistants try to lift patients alone when they know they are to have a partner assist them. This is dangerous to your health, to your patient, and to your job security. Never cut corners on such practices no matter how much time they save you. Communicable diseases are very important to avoid as a Nursing Assistance. You will likely be trained in communicable diseases both in your Nursing Assistant training and your employment orientation. However, it is important to remember that most communicable diseases are spread through bodily fluids. No matter how tight your time schedule is, if you find a patient has soiled their clothing or bed, make sure you use rubber gloves, clean the area properly including using a disinfectant, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This will help reduce you risk of infection from communicable diseases. Many patients who require the care of a Nursing Assistant don't want it. This can lead to a variety of feelings including depression, being upset, anger, and hatred. Often, this mix of feelings gets released onto the Nursing Assistant. You may find yourself receiving verbal abuse and sometimes physical abuse from patients as a result. It is very important that you deal with this type of situation immediately. For verbal abuse, tell the patient you understand they are upset but that you are there to help them with: then proceed to tell them what you will be assisting with. Leave the room if they continue to be in that state of mind. Report the incident according to your employer's policies. Physical abuse is more dangerous than emotional abuse. Patients need to understand that it will not be tolerated under any circumstances. If you have to defend yourself, yell for help or call out a code word according to your employer's policies. It is vital that you report any incident of physical abuse immediately to your supervisor. Document the incident including what took place, the type of physical abuse, and any self defense holds or moves you did to protect yourself. This becomes important if the patient later claims you abused them. Avoiding burnout is another key area for Nursing Assistants to be aware of. This is the result of continually feeling overwhelmed by your job duties. The medical field ranks number one in the area of job burnout. It is important that you pay attention to burnout and these other precautions. This will enable you to further enjoy your employment as a Nursing Assistant. Patient Rights Nursing Assistants Need to be Aware of Nursing assistants take great care in providing patients with the best possible care. They assist with meeting their basic needs on whatever level that particular patient needs. Nursing assistants often have to make informed decisions for the patients they care for. However, it is very important for all Nursing Assistants to be aware of rights of all patients. Nursing assistants need to familiarize themselves with these rights and respect them. Patients have the right to be fully informed at the time of admission and throughout their stay in the facility. As the Nursing Assistant, you may be asked questions by patients that you are not qualified to answer. Acknowledge this with the patient, let them know who can answer their question, and document the information in their chart. Most information given to patients and their family will come directly from the doctor or the charge Nurse. All patients have the right to refuse treatment. This can be difficult for Nursing Assistants as they really want to be as helpful to the patient as possible. However, if they do not want your assistance you can't force them. You must report this to your supervisor as well as document the information in the patient's chart. If a patient is not happy with the care they are receiving, they have the right to inquire about grievance procedures and file a complaint. If a patient voices a complaint to you, provide them with the information to file a formal complaint. The policies and procedures for doing so will vary be medical facility. Patients shall not encounter physical or mental abuse from anyone while staying in a medical facility. This includes chemical and physical restraints. Any such incidents shall be reported by the Nursing Assistant immediately to the supervisor, and often the local police department. It is the duty of all Nursing Assistants to provide each patient with confidentiality and dignity. They should be treated with respect and privacy in regards to their personal information. Keeping anything you find out in the medical setting confined to other professionals who must know the situation is the best advice. Patients have the right to participate in the religion of their choice. They are allowed to have visitors from the Church as well as private visitors as long as it does not interfere with medical advice. The Nursing Assistant must learn to work the needs of the patient around such visits. Providing quality care to individuals is a very rewarding challenge to Nursing Assistants. Keep in mind that each patient has their own personality, desires, and needs. They want these to continue being met even while they are in a medical facility. This allows them to maintain a routine and sense of normalcy. The longer you care for a patient, the better you will understand how to best care for them. It is difficult to balance the medical needs of a patient with their own personal desires. However, it is possible to provide both by respecting the patient's rights. This will ensure that they understand and denied requests are done purely in the best interest of their well being. Nursing Assistants are often considered an ally by patients. They help reduce any issues between the patient and Nursing staff as well as the patient and physician. Patient Abuse by Nursing Assistants We have all heard horror stories of patient abuse by Nursing Assistants. This takes shape in many forms including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and theft. Most medical facilities Nationwide are taking precautions against such abuse occurring, including completing background checks. In some states, you can't work as a Nursing Assistant if you have any charges relating to domestic violence, harassment, or drunk driving because it is possible such behaviors can escalate in the work environment. Many organizations complain that Nursing Assistants aren't properly looked into because the demand is so great in the industry. As a result, some employers are lowering the background check expectations. However, many states are holding the employer responsible when such abuse occurs, so this will likely help to curb that process. Sexual abuse charges by Nursing Assistants are taken very seriously. Such sexual abuse reports include allegations of inappropriate touching and sexual intercourse. It is most commonly found to take place with male Nursing Assistants with those they are responsible for bathing. It is the responsibility of Nurses to routinely make a surprise visit into the area where a Nursing Assistant is alone with a patient. This will help convey the message that their endeavors may be interrupted and caught. Physical abuse by Nursing Assistants is often hard to prove unless it has been witnessed or bruises appear. Often this type of abuse is conducted by Nursing Assistants who are not satisfied with their job. They are easily upset, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Some abuse their patients as a method of teaching them that they think some of their behaviors are inappropriate. For example, some patients have reported being hit for soiling their clothes and bedding. This often goes unreported in elderly populations as they become very afraid. Verbal abuse is one of the most common types of abuse by Nursing Assistants. It can be simple teasing, belittling, or threats. Often this type of behavior stems out of control issues and the desire to have a more important job. Theft is the number one reported type of abuse by Nursing Assistants. In can include cash, food, jewelry, and even dietary supplements. In medical facilities, such theft can be hard to prove who did it because the patient comes into contact with so many individuals who work in the facility. While most Nursing Assistants do their job with as much energy and work ethic as humanly possible, there are those who give the entire profession a bad name. It is sad when you think about it -- when is the last time a Nursing Assistant who did a good job made National headlines? Yet let one fall out of line, and you will hear it on the TV, radio, and the internet continuously. The Nursing Assistant profession can be very difficult. It takes a very particular type of individual to be able to meet the requirements. Employers have a responsibility to protect all the patients. This requires money and time to be spent on extensive background checks and training. It also requires workshops and ongoing training for all staff members. Everyone should know signs of abuse to be watching for and how to report them. Abuse by Nursing Assistants will be prosecuted by law. Anyone going into the profession needs to be made very aware of that.
Nursing Assistant Relationships with Other Staff To be an effective Nursing Assistant, you must have excellent communication skills. You will be communicating throughout your daily activities with patients, their family and friends, and an array of medical staff. You will work directly with the Nursing staff. This will be a very important area to develop strong relationships in. You will also be communicating with physicians, X-Ray technicians, lab staff, surgery units, and emergency services. Therefore, it is very important that you continually work on your communication style and effectiveness. Your job will be much easier if you are able to establish good relationships with other staff members. As a Nursing Assistant, you will be overseen by the Nursing staff. They will depend on your to report accurate information on patient charts. You need to be sure you are documenting what they ate and how much, their vital signs, and any changes you notice. If you think something requires immediate attention from a Nurse, then you need to be able to communicate that message effectively. You also need to feel comfortable going to the Nursing staff for assistance and questions as the need arises. Since Nursing Assistants have far more one on one interactions with patients, other staff often depends on their observations to assist them. It is very common for Nurses and Doctors to ask the Nursing Assistant about sudden changes in a patient's behavior. Therefore, paying attention to detail is very important. You will want to pay attention to your instincts that something is wrong and report it immediately to the proper staff member. In the ideal working environment, Nursing Assistants are valued for their contributions to the medical field. They are respected by the other staff and informed of changes and important decisions. However, in many medical facilities, Nursing Assistants are frustrated because they feel they aren't in the loop. The often complain of being left in the dark as to what is taking place among other staff members. The biggest complaint is with the Nurses. Nursing Assistants claim that when they have tried to explain patient information to Nursing staff, they are dismissed as if they aren't credible because they don't have the education to determine such information. They also feel that they report all changes to the medical staff, yet no one is reporting changes to them about the patient such as new medications or a new diet. This can be very frustrating for Nursing Assistants. This kind of issue can lead to a divided work staff who aren't working together in the best interest of the patients. There are five ways employers can work with staff to eliminate such issues. Enforcing these goals will allow medical staff to develop better relationships on an ongoing basis, providing better care for patients. It often helps with the moral of the staff as well. Everyone should get a brief overview of what the other medical staff is responsible to do. Too often one group of people feel they do more than another because they just aren't aware of everything that particular job description entails. This will help staff members value the work of others more. Asking Nursing Assistants for their input and opinion often builds relationships with other staff because they feel part of the overall care process for patients. Recognize the talents of each other and your abilities. This will help balance out strengths and weaknesses, enabling all staff to provide better quality care to patients. It is important to be supportive of other medical staff, not just those with the same title as you. Nurturing new staff is also very important. They need to feel as if they are part of the team from the minute they enter the door on their first day of work. The relationships Nursing Assistants develop with other staff are very important. This starts will realizing your own communication style, and improving your communication skills. It may also require you to address issues with administration to develop ways for communications among the medical staff to improve. Be ready to offer ideas to make it happen when you approach administration. With the overall goal being to provide excellent care for all patients, communication that works well for everyone is a great place to start. Nursing Assistant Background Checks In today's society, background checks are conducted by most employers to help safeguard against theft as well as to help secure the safety of the people they serve and the other staff members. Anyone wanting to be a Nursing Assistant should expect a very thorough background check to be conducted prior to being hired at any medical facility. In many instances, a background check will have to be completed prior to acceptance in a Nursing Assistance program. It generally depends on the state requirements. The level of clearance you must pass on a background check varies by agency and state. In some states, only crimes involving violence will ban you from employment as a Nursing Assistant. In others, any felony will result in not being hired. There are a few states that push it even further. If you have any history of domestic violence, harassment, drunk driving, misdemeanors, or felonies, you can't work in the medical profession. While some may think this is extreme, statistics show theft and abuse committed by Nursing Assistants is done by those who have some criminal record prior to being hired by the agency where the abuse or theft took place. If you are not familiar with a background check, it can include many things. Some employers simply check your criminal history. Others go to great lengths to find out information about you. They will check the education information on your resume, verify all past employment, and call all your references. There are a select few employers who will conduct a credit rating as well. This is because up to 40% of all resumes given to employers contain some kind of false information. Investigating a person's motor vehicle record has also become popular. The one area that an employer can't look into is your medical history. However, many medical facilities require Nursing Assistants to pass a physical exam prior to hiring. An employer will need to discuss the types of background checks they will conduct prior to doing so. Often, you will need to sign consent from allowing them to obtain such information. In most cases, an employer will not be conducting a background check unless they are ready to offer you the job. It is not uncommon for them to offer the position, but clarify that it is contingent on the background check coming back clear. This being told, Nursing Assistants need to be up front about their background. While it is difficult to secure employment in the field with a criminal history, it is possible depending on the circumstances. If you lie about your work experience, it is quite possible you will get caught. Since the demand is so high for Nursing Assistants, you can still get the job if you don't have much work experience. Employers are often looking for someone who is honest and willing to work. Show them both, and they will offer to train you. If your background check comes back with information that negatively reflects your chances of being hired, the company has to provide you with the information they received as well as the name of the company they obtained the information from. If they information is incorrect, it is very important that you contact your local agency relating to the reported information. In addition, remember that getting into trouble with the law, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or financially might result in you losing your position as a Nursing Assistant. You will want to review the policies for the agency you are accepting employment with. Nurse Assistants and Communicable Diseases Communicable diseases are those that can be transferred from one individual to another. These include the common cold, tuberculosis, the flu, and HIV, herpes, measles, chicken pox, lice, and strep throat. Are of these are highly contagious. For those who already have medical issues, their immune system has a hard time fighting off anything else, so they are very susceptible. Communicable diseases spread by human waste including saliva, stools, urine, blood, and other bodily fluids. Airborne droplets from the nose and mouth are also a common transmitter. Since communicable diseases often spread like wildfire if not properly contained, it is everyone's responsibility to do all they can to maintain their own health. Washing your hands often is a very good place to start. Most germs can't survive soap and water. Nursing Assistants are encouraged to wash their hands more than most people because they are in constant contact with other people. As a Nurse Assistant, it is your responsibility to immediately notify your supervisor if you develop the symptoms of any communicable disease. They can then determine a course of action. It may be recommended that you don't come to work until the communicable disease has run its course. Depending on the disease, you might be able to continue working with a respirator to prevent passing it to anyone else. In some cases, it may need to be reported to the health department. Some communicable diseases can be cured with antibiotics such as strep throat. Others including the common cold will have to run their course. You can do your part by remembering to wash your hands, taking your vitamins, being current on all immunizations, and getting an annual flu shot. Learning about these types of diseases is an important part of the Nursing Assistant program. Most medical facilities train all new employees in the area of communicable diseases. There is also ongoing training. While preventing the spread of communicable diseases is important in any work environment, it is especially important in a medical setting. Each medical agency will have different processes and procedures for handling the spread of communicable diseases. Make sure you are well trained in identifying them, noticing the onset, and knowing how to handle each type of situation. Epidemics of communicable diseases require emergency procedures to take place. It is very important that you agency trains all employees in that area as well. Nursing Assistances come into contact with bodily fluids of patients on a regular basis, and this is the most common method that they are infected with communicable diseases. You should always use rubber gloves when doing tasks such as changing soiled bedding and clothing and empting bedpans. The use of a sterile disinfectant while cleaning is important as well. If you do get bodily fluids on you, immediately was the area with soap and water, then report the incident. Your report needs to include what took place and what bodily fluids you came into contact with. Communicable diseases are an area many people don't know much about. It is important that Nursing Assistants do some research on their own to make sure they fully understand the health risks involved with coming into contact with communicable diseases. While it is very rare, there have been reports of Nursing Assistants being infected with HIV and other potentially deadly diseases. Nurse Assistant Training Nurse Assistants play a vital role in our healthcare facilities. They provide patients with assistance in regard to their basic needs including bathing, feeding, and dressing them. The level of assistance depends on the individual needs of each patient. They also are an invaluable resource for the Nursing staff. Becoming a Nurse Assistant requires completion of a certificate program. Such programs are available at several medical facilities and college campuses. The programs can be completed in as little as four weeks. Others run as long as twelve weeks. It depends on the curriculum, the requirements of the state the program is taking place in, and how many hours per day the course is conducted. All Nurse Assistance courses will teach you the basic fundamentals of taking care of those under your care in a safe and professional manner. Your work will be supervised by licensed Nurses both during your training and regular employment. The training program will teach you to care for both the physical and psychological needs of each patient. Since you must successfully pass the Certified Nursing Assistant exam, the course will help you prepare for the information on that exam. During the Nurse Assistant course, you will be involved in learning textbook materials as well as hands on training. The textbook material cover all the terminology and information you need to lay a solid foundation to build on. This information will also cover items that are likely to be found on the Certified Nursing Assistant exam. You will also learn ways to improve your communication skills. Communication is key to being a great Nurse Assistant. You will need to be effective at communicating with patients, their family, and the other medical staff. The hands on portion of the training will give you the opportunity to practice the concepts you are learning in the classroom. Most training programs have special medical maniquins that you work with. You will practice proper bathing and lifting on them. You may also practice taking their vital signs as some are designed for that purpose. The majority of Nurse Assistant programs work with in conjunction with the medical facilities in the area. This often means a large portion of your hands on training will take place as such a facility. This portion of the curriculum is called clinicals. During this process, you will tend to real patients with the close supervision of licensed medical staff. You will begin applying your knowledge in this setting. Clinicals can be intimidating to some students. However, they are designed to give you the best opportunity to fully understand and learn your role as a Nurse Assistant. Generally, these clinicals are conducted with a very small group of students. Your class will be broke up into groups of at least two but no more than six. They take place in the actual medical facility. It is important to understand that you will not be paid for the work you do during these clinical hours of training. During clinicals, the Nursing staff is fully aware of your inexperience. They will attempt to explain what is taking place as it happens to improve your ability to look for key factors in a medical setting. It is very important that if you do not fully understand something, that you discuss it with those training you. They are there for that purpose during the training portions of the Nurse Assistant program. Completing your Nurse Assistant training at a medical facility not only gives you hands on experience, it may lead to a job offer at the end of your training program. Many medical facilities that host the clinical training are watching out for students who show potential. They are looking for punctuality, attendance, attention to detail, a willingness to learn, and a positive attitude. On advantage of accepting a job offer at the facility you completed your clinical training at is that you will know their policies and procedures. It is important to keep in mind that every facility has variations of how you were training. The basics will be the same, but you will need to be willing to adjust to what is expected at the particular facility you accept employment with. Keeping that in mind, you will want to ask questions of that nature during job interviews if a complete job description is not given to you. Home Health Employment with a Nursing Assistant Certification Many individuals who are certified as a Nursing Assistant become frustrated with the medical facility environment. The often have to work as scheduled including holidays, deal with internal issues among staff, want more pay for the work they are doing, and don't feel appreciated. Home health care offers a great alternative to Nursing Assistants who want more freedom as well as the opportunity to get to know those they are caring for on a more personal level. Home health care is exactly that, offering basic assistance to those who need it in the privacy and comfort of their own home. Nursing Assistants will be performing many of the same tasks including feeding, bathing, and dressing the patients. Most Nursing Assistants interested in working for home health seek employment with a home health agency. These agencies contract with the patient or their family to offer them services to be able to remain in their home rather than an assisted living facility. However, Nursing Assistants need to be aware home health care agencies generally offer additional services that they will be required to perform including paying bills, running errands, picking up medications, and taking the patient to scheduled appointments. In addition, there may be cooking and light housekeeping involved. Many Nursing Assistants love home health care because it allows them to develop a schedule that works for them and they get to know their patients. Home health care generally allows you to make your own schedule. It will be reviewed by your supervisor as well as checked with the patients. Every effort is made to accommodate all involved. It is very likely you can customize the schedule around holidays and other events, giving you those days off. Getting to know your patients while doing home health care is a perk you don't often get in a medical facility. You sometimes can if you work in a long term care facility, but even then time is often limited and Nursing Assistants have to run to complete the workload they are given. Getting to know the patients in home health care can make the job more enjoyable. Since home health care takes place in a person's home with very little supervision, the background check is more intense than what is done to work in a medical facility. This is for the complete protection of the patients. You will have complete access to their home as well as be interacting with them one on one. Therefore any time of issue on your background check can keep you from being employed in home health care. Be prepared for a references and past employers to be contacted. Home health care agencies will be looking for more than the length of employment and your skills. They will want to find out if you are organized, motivated, and able to work on your own without constant supervision. They will be investigating your promptness as well as how often you call off work, as well as the reasons why. This is because home health care agencies don't have the volume of staff to cover your patients if you show up late or don't show up at all. This can result in patients needs going unmet and them becoming upset. That could result in patients choosing to end their contract with that home health care agency. Nursing Assistants are more likely to earn more at a home health agency than in a medical facility. On average $2.25 more per hour. They are also more likely to be treated respectfully by their employer and co-workers. They want employees to be happy as this will help keep them as quality employees. Patients do not like for their assistant to continually change. They don't like having that many new people in and out of their home. The home health care agency has to properly balance keeping the employees and the patients happy. Before accepting any employment with a home health care agency, take the time to research them with the Better Business Bureau and state Medical Board. You do not want to involve yourself with any agency that does not participate in proper procedures for care of their patients. It is important to report any such issues immediately. Helping Nursing Assistants with Dying and Death Nursing Assistants are a unique group of individuals who are dedicated to providing patients with the best possible care. They work hard to make sure their basic needs are met. They often go the extra mile to provide patients and their families comfort. They are trained to work hard, multi-task, and assist Nurses with any type of emergency that arises on any given day. However, their goal is to help others feel better. Dealing with the harsh reality of dying and death can be very difficult for Nursing Assistants to deal with, especially for those new to the profession. Dealing with the issue of dying and death is relevant in any field of the medical profession. It is even more common if you are working in a critical care of elderly care facility. This issue should be taken into careful consideration before a Nursing Assistant accepts a position in such a facility. Since all people view death differently, a Nursing Assistant will be exposed to many things going on during this time, both with the patient and with their family members. For those who are very religious, praying and possibly figures from their Church will be present. Others are afraid to die, and fight for every last breath trying to hold on. Respecting the wishes of the patient and the family is very important during dying and death. There are those Nursing Assistants who are upset when they have to deal with dying and death. They feel this is not what they signed up for. They want to help people. However, Nursing Assistants can be a great source of comfort and compassion for patients and their families during those precious last hours. Do all you can to keep the patient comfortable. Often, their mouths become very dry. Even if they don't appear coherent, attempt to give them ongoing sips of water or ice chips. The lips may begin to crack, apply Chap Stick or Vaseline to prevent soreness. Caring for dying patients requires you to remember details about them before they became so ill. For example, if a patient asked to be turned often because of soreness, continue to rotate how they are laying. Pay attention to their body temperature and adjust bedding, air conditioning, and heating as needed. A person will often become cold in the hours before death, so it is important to keep them as comfortable as possible. Some signs of death Nursing Assistants should be familiar with include the loss of muscle tone, the slowing of circulation, changes in breathing, and blurred vision. It is important that the Nursing Assistant document such changes in the patient's chart and immediately notify the charge Nurse of the situation. While a patient is dying, the Nursing Assistant can help make the process easier for the patient. Adequate pain medications should be administered as needed to reduce the pain. Play the music the patient enjoys. Consider reading them a favorite book or Bible passages. Sometimes they will need extra comfort including someone to hold their hand. A Nursing Assistant can assume this role. Often, Nursing Assistants can rely on each other to help make the situation easier. Many employers also offer counseling services if you feel they are necessary after dealing with dying and death of one of your patients. It is often easy to become attached to patients you care for on a regular basis. Your employer is well aware of this, and will want to help you feel better in your role as a Nursing Assistant. Counseling for Nursing Assistants The day to day activities of a Nursing Assistant can be rewarding and draining. Most of us only know that they offer assistance with feeding, dressing, and bathing patients. However, they do so much more. They develop ongoing relationships with the patients as they have more one on one time with them than any other medical staff. They also provide comfort to the patient and their family. They do all they can from reading to them, helping them write letters, and holding their hand as they move from life to death. Experiencing the negative activities that occur in the Nursing Assistant profession can really take a toll on an individual. It is especially hard when someone they have been caring for takes a turn for the work, becomes terminally ill, or dies. They still have to go on with their other patients, but they can be left feeling empty and at a loss. Many medical facilities are aware of this issue. With being compassionate comes true feelings of friendship and loss. Counseling is a good way to help Nursing Assistants deal with the events that take place in the working environment. This counseling can be conducted through the employer or at the expense of the Nursing Assistant from an outside resource. Counseling services offered on site to Nursing Assistants is generally offered free of charge, as long as the information being discussed is work related. The employer may have several paid counselors that only provide services to employees. Others use their counselors to provide services to their employees, patients, and the family and friends of patients. You will need to look into how it is set up at your place of employment for specific details. These counseling sessions can be ongoing or set up only when a Nursing Assistant feels the need to do so. It is important to understand that the information you discuss with the counselor at your worksite will not be shared with your employer. Too often, Nursing Assistants avoid this type of support and help because they are afraid their boss is going to get a transcript of the entire session. All counseling sessions are held in strict confidentiality. They only time anything is reported is if the counselor feels you are in danger of hurting yourself or others. Since counseling is important in the medical profession, you may be able to encourage administration at your place of employment to set up services for employees. While they may argue that it is costly and not in the budget, be prepared to discuss the benefits to the overall effectiveness of the staff. Employees with good mental health will do a better job. They will also choose to continue employment longer than staff that needs counseling but does not receive it. If your employer does not offer counseling services, it is important that you look into an outside resource for such services. The Nursing Assistant field can be draining and emotional. A key to staying on top of the game is to take care of yourself. This means both on a physical and emotional level. In reality, you aren't going to be effectively caring for patients if you haven't been taking care of your own needs. Counseling services can be expensive, but most health insurance plans cover them. If yours doesn't or you don't have health insurance, check in your area for discount programs and sliding scale fees. Counseling services for Nursing Assistants is a vital key to staying compassionate and interested in your work. If you let the dark side of the profession consume you, then you will no longer be contributing to the well being of the patients you care for. Being a Nursing Assistant is a great opportunity to care for others and give something of yourself to society. However, it can't be stressed enough that you must take the opportunity and time to properly meet your own needs. This is one of the biggest reasons so many people in the medical field suffer from burnout. They simply do not take their own needs into consideration at the level they should. Consumer Complaints about Nursing Assistants Most Nursing Assistants work very hard to ensure the safety of patients as well as provide them with quality care. However, consumer complaints happen often, resulting in the profession not getting a fair look. Too often the focus is on the negative that takes place during interactions with Nursing Assistants than reporting good staff to the proper people. One of the biggest complaints about Nursing Assistants by consumers is that they are too rushed. They often have to hurry through bathing and dressing because they have too many demands on their time in a given shift. This often results in patients getting cared for, but quickly and robotically. The personal touch is often smothered in an effort to get it all done. For patients, simple requests are on of the few perks they have in a medical facility. It also allows they to still exercise some control over their decisions. This is very important to someone who no longer is able to be at home or do basic tasks for themselves without assistance. These requests can be as simple as helping them from the bed to a chair or bringing them a pen and paper to write a letter. It is easy for Nursing Assistants to get side tracked or forget. However, since these simply requests are important to the patient, it is very important that Nursing Assistants follow through with them. Carrying a pen and notepad to jot down requests is a great way to remember them. Patients don't like to be kept waiting. It is very hard to adjust to. They may forget they are not the only patient. Nursing Assistants do the best they can to stay on schedule. However, working short staffed and medical emergencies can quickly put them behind schedule. Nursing Assistants have to prioritize, so sometimes helping someone who has fallen is more important than giving the patient a shower on time. Since confidentiality is so important, the Nursing Assistant can't tell the patient why they are running late. Never discuss a patient with another staff member or family member in a manner that makes the patient feel as if they are not in the room. Speak with them in mind. It is important to carefully choose your words, even when you think they are asleep or in a coma. Many patients have filed complaints regarding conversations they overheard while Nursing Assistants thought they were sleeping or unresponsive. One huge area of controversy is that many consumers are uneasy with who quickly a Nursing Assistant can obtain a license. They do not feel there is adequate training time to do an effective job. Federal guidelines require all Nursing Assistant programs to have a minimum of 75 hours of training. The actual amount will depend on the program coordinator and the state requirements for a particular program. However, it is often debated that to be certified as a manicurist, it takes over 1000 hours of training, but so little to become a Nursing Assistant. Medical facilities and program developers defend the hours required to earn a certificate as a Nursing Assistant. They feel the training builds on an individuals basic concepts of feeding, bathing, and dressing individuals. It is routine tasks we have all done at some point in our lives. They also stress that the clinical hours are hands on training in a medical facility with close observation. This type of training is more effective than just classroom curriculums of other programs. In addition, Nursing Assistants are closely supervised by Nursing staff on a regular basis. Nursing Assistants work hard to do an effective job of meeting the needs of consumers. Complaints will continue to be file as long as Nursing Assistants maintain such high workloads. With the demand of this field continuing to grow, it is not likely that the workloads will get anything but larger over time. Confidentiality is a Must for Nursing Assistants Nursing Assistants are exposed to a wide variety of events taking place in the medical field. It is crucial that they are aware of the importance of maintaining confidentiality in all aspects of their job. Nursing Assistants are well trained in the policies and procedures of the facility. While it is important to follow them, it is not recommended to discuss them outside of the facility. For example, you don't want to provide others with confidential information regarding evacuation and other emergency procedures. Doing so many compromise the safety of the patients and staff during a natural disaster or violent attack. Patients requiring care in a medical facility are to have their privacy protected. This means you do not discuss their care or other personal information with any other person except staff they have an interest in the care of that patient. Confidentiality becomes an issue when you know someone in the facility or someone asks you why someone else in there. All patients have the right to their privacy being maintained. Compromising this information is a direct violation of every medical practice. Providing such information can result in termination of your job, and in some cases, the loss of your Nursing Assistant Certification. Communicable diseases can surface in medical facilities. It is important that you follow the policies and procedures set in place by the particular facility your work with. However, do not release information regarding such diseases to anyone. This could result in a panic over the possibility of an epidemic, and lead to patients wanting to leave the facility against medical advice. The proper medical staff will release information on communicable diseases to the proper agencies. Often this includes the area health department. They can then help the medical facility incorporate a plan of action to remedy the solution. The decision might be made to share the information with the area newspapers in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and to seek medical attention if they display the symptoms of a communicable disease that requires treatment. Confidentiality also includes other medical staff. Nursing Assistants should not be disclosing any information they overhear among other staff in regards to a patient. Likewise, they should not disclose any information that they hear about the private interactions of staff. Often referred to as gossip, this violation of confidentiality can result in poor working relationships. The result is often a stressful work environment and patients not receiving the best care because lines of communication are not open. To protect yourself, it is important that you clearly understand the basics of confidentiality and why it is so important in the Nursing Assistant profession. Make sure you are fully aware of the specific policies and procedures in place for the facility you work for prior to accepting employment. In addition, it is the responsibility of the Nursing Assistant to report any violations of the confidentiality policies and procedures to the proper person. Not doing so makes you as much a part of the violation as those who committed it. While it is human nature to talk and discuss things in common, make sure the information you are sharing in regards to your work are being shared with those who need to know the information. It can be humiliating enough for individuals who need to be in a medical facility without worrying about who is going to find out about what took place while they were in care. Disadvantages of Being a Nursing Assistant Being a Nursing Assistant can be a very rewarding career for those who are compassionate, hardworking, and who enjoy helping others. They are a necessary part of the medical field. Often, their work goes unappreciated by others in the medical profession. There are disadvantages to being a Nursing Assistant that can lead to someone no longer enjoying their job. The Nursing Assistant profession has one of the highest turn over rates in the medical field. Most people who become certified as a Nursing Assistant don't do it for the pay. They are interested as a way of helping others and working with other medical professionals. The low cost of the program as well as the short amount of time it takes to complete it are also big motivators to enroll in such a program. We all like to feel appreciated, both professionally and personally. Nursing Assistants who don't feel respected and appreciated by the other medical staff quickly come to dislike their job. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy and resentment. In some cases, it can result in not performing duties to the best of your ability. In others, it can result in simply not performing the duties you don't enjoy doing. While Nursing Assistants help keep things running smooth for everyone including patients, families, and other medical staff, they are often not paid very well. This type of position is considered entry level. The starting pay is generally a few dollars above minimum wage, but when compared to the earnings of Nursing staff, the pay is still considered to be very low. Being a Nursing Assistant exposes you to a wide variety of patients. Meeting their needs including feeding, bathing, and dressing can often be difficult. Nursing Assistants are also required to be able to assist the Nursing staff with anything that arises during their shift. Nursing Assistants often find themselves running short on time to complete everything on the agenda for a given day. One of the most difficult things for Nursing Assistants to deal with is the behaviors of patients. While most appreciate the help being offered, others become very angry and mean towards the Nursing Assistant. The risk of both physical and emotional abuse is very high in this profession. This can definitely take a toll of anyone. As with any area of the medical field, Nursing Assistants are exposed to death and dying. There are times when feelings of hopelessness are felt by the Nursing Assistant as they see patients that they aren't able to help as much as they would like to. While they understand that is part of the medical profession, it can still be very difficult to take. Even the most dedicated and responsible Nursing Assistants can start to feel burnout in association with their job. This is when your job becomes so overwhelming that you lose interest in it, as well as other activities. It can be the result of working too many hours, working short staff, or a combination of other factors. Watch for the warning signs. The decision to pursue employment as a Nursing Assistant lead to a wonderful career for you. However, it is important that you are fully aware of the disadvantages of the career choice as well. This way you can make an informed decision. You will need to ask yourself if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It will also help you prepare for signs of such disadvantages that you can overcome. For example, you can obtain counseling services if you are experiencing negative feelings related to the death of a patient or other such issue. You can prepare yourself for issues that arise with other staff, and know where in your facility to go with that information for a solution. You can also prepare yourself to avoid burnout with the job, and take the necessary steps if you start to feel that way. Burnout as a Nursing Assistant Those who decide to pursue a career in the medical field as a Nursing Assistant set out to show compassion and help others. Their hearts are in the right place, but they may soon find their minds and bodies suffering from burnout. This is the result of continually feeling like you can't meet your work requirements. Soon you find you are completely drained and exhausted due to feeling overwhelmed. Often, the result is losing the motivation that lead you to take on that role in the first place. The role of a Nursing Assistant is a demanding one. One of the biggest complaints from them is that they have too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done. Burnout is dangerous because it affects individuals emotionally, physically, and mentally. It is tough to see bright, compassionate Nursing Assistants leave the medical field because they have come to resent the role they have taken on. It no longer serves a purpose for them. What was once a positive experience has become a nightmare. The stress of burnout on a Nursing Assistant can lead to problems with their health as well as lead to depression. Often, they either quit their job or they are fired. This leads to financial difficulties and many times issues in their relationships. Nursing Assistants report burnout in their profession is common because they are overworked, unappreciated, confused about work expectations and priorities, worry about job security, they are overwhelmed by the number of responsibilities, and they do not feel their pay is sufficient for the amount of duties that they are required to perform on an ongoing basis. It is important that Nursing Assistants understand burnout, and the havoc it can reap in their professional and personal life. Understanding what burnout is, why it happens, and the signs of it can help Nursing Assistants deal with the situation before it spirals out of control. The first step in avoiding burnout is to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Signs you are experiencing job burnout or soon will be include no longer finding enjoyment in areas of your job you once really liked, becoming cynical or bitter about your job, and you are starting to experience problems in relationships with co-workers, friends or family as a result of the conflicts of your job. Other important signs to watch for are looking for excuses to not go to work, calling off or asking to go home early on a regular basis, becoming easily annoyed with co-workers, envious of those who do enjoy their work, and not caring if you do a good job or not. It is likely you will start to experience physical and emotional exhaustion. Being a Nursing Assistant can be stressful. However, stress and burnout are different. They are often confused because they signs and symptoms of the two are very similar. The defining factor is stress comes and goes, so the signs and symptoms do as well. With burnout, the feeling doesn't go away, so the signs and symptoms linger ongoing. As a Nursing Assistant, you can't eliminate stress, but you can help control and reduce the effects of it. It is important to get plenty of rest and take care of yourself. Since most of us stretch ourselves too thin with too many commitments, see if there are areas you can cut back in. If you have solutions to issues at work, write them down. Ask to meet with your supervisor. Explain the problems, then offer solutions. This will show that you are interested in resolving the issues rather than just complaining. It is very important to take time for yourself. Relax with a warm bath or read a good book. Too often we take care of everyone else's needs at work and at home, leaving nothing of ourselves for us! Since the healthcare profession is the top contender for employees suffering from burnout, Nursing Assistants need to really take head of this advice and put it to good use early on in their career. This will help ensure they continue to enjoy their work, offering patients the best possible care. Ways to Show Appreciation to Nursing Assistants Nursing Assistants work very hard to offer a contribution to the medical field. They work hard to help patients meet their basic needs. They also offer comfort and support. They work one on one with patients, getting to know them better than the other medical staff. They use this knowledge to make things easier for the patient as well as to help the other staff do what is best for the patient. In addition, they work with Nursing staff, often assisting with anything that comes up at a moments notice. While most Nursing Assistants are happy in their role, they often do feel like they are taken for granted. The do so much behind the scenes that often the patients and the employer don't realize all that they contribute to the overall goals of the medical facility and the medical profession as a whole. There are several things patients, staff, and employers can do to recognize the efforts of Nursing Assistants. Many patients and their family choose to send a simply thank you note or letter to the Nursing Assistant. Often, this heartfelt thank you is more than sufficient. It can often help a Nursing Assistant stay motivated, knowing what they do really does make a difference for many people. A simple gift of candy, flowers, or a gift card can also be a great token of appreciation for someone who offered so much during your time of need. Many Nursing Assistants do not feel appreciated by other medical staff, especially the Nursing staff they work directly under. Too often Nursing staff only point of what a Nursing Assistant didn't do. This needs to be addressed, and verbal appreciation needs to be expressed towards the efforts of Nursing Assistants. Another great way to show appreciation is to ask Nursing Assistants for their input regarding patient care and include them in discussions about how to handle particular patient issues. This will definitely make them feel appreciated and valued. Employers need to work hard to make Nursing Assistants feel appreciated as well. With them being is such high demand, they need to work hard to keep those quality workers they already have. In addition, their attitude towards the issue will often set the tone for other medical staff. Employers can extend appreciation to individual Nursing Assistants or the profession as a whole in employment newsletters. These are often well read materials that pertain to the medical facility and can be distributed monthly or every pay day along with your check. If your facility participates in Medical Appreciate Week, then it is imperative that the Nursing Assistants feel honored during that time as well. Some employers offer raises to Nursing Assistants based on their performance as a bonus to recognize their efforts. It is important to understand that Nursing Assistants don't enter the profession looking for recognition. They sincerely want to help others the best way they can. However, being over worked and under appreciated it a mix that leads to stress, burnout, and often leaving the profession. Medical facilities need to take the opportunity to inform other staff of all the duties Nursing Assistants perform. Other staff and the facility need to work hard to make them feel as important as any other staff member. Too often, the mentality is that they are entry level workers with less education. This misconception will lead to a continued shortage of Nursing Assistants to help patients and other staff. That being said, it is definitely to the advantage of the staff and facility to make sure Nursing Assistants feel welcome, appreciated, and an intricate part of the team. Support Groups for Nursing Assistants Working as a Nursing Assistant can be very fulfilling. It is a great feeling to know you spent your day helping others. However, with this job comes a great deal of stress and frustration at times. This is due to short staffing so there is too much to get done, issues with other medical staff, and dealing with terminally ill patients or those who have died while in your care. All of this can start to take a toll on a Nursing Assistant, both physically and mentally. As a result, many Nursing Assistants suffer from burnout. They no longer find joy in the profession they were once passionate about. To help you manage the stress and other factors that your job as a Nursing Assistant brings, support groups are a great way to discuss how you are feeling, both the good and the bad. It is a way to create relationships and receive support from others in the same profession. You will also have the ability to provide support to others in the group. There are many ways Nursing Assistants set up support groups. It is very easy to put up a flier at work and ask those who are interested to come to a meeting. Make sure your flier addresses the group is only for Nursing Assistants. Many employers will support this effort, and offer you a meeting place. Make sure you discuss your reasons for wanting to establish a support group to administration prior to advertising. Some groups meet weekly while others meet every other week. You can have established topics for each meeting or just allow members to bring to the table what ever they want. Make sure to set up ground rules for respect as well as prevent the meetings from becoming nothing but complaint sessions. The purpose of the support group is to help you stay positive, not generate the negative. If your group of co-workers is very small, you might decide to set up a Nursing Assistant support group in your community, inviting Nursing Assistants from all medical facilities to meet together. You can select a central location such as the library. Often Churches will allow groups to gather in their facilities when not in use. You can also choose to rotate the medical facility that will host each meeting. Online support groups for Nursing Assistants have become very popular. They allow you a level on animosity that face to face meetings do not. Also, your group will consist of people from all over the Nation, not just in your area. This can lead to learning new ways that work well for others that you can apply to your work environment. Online support groups for Nursing Assistants are free to join. They also don't require an effort being put into reminders for meetings, or securing places to meet. One such online support group called Nursing Assistant Central .com has thousands of members. They invite individuals thinking of entering the Nursing Assistant program, those who are in the program, recent certificate holders, and those employed as a Nursing Assistant. There are message boards and chat rooms to discuss hundreds of topics. There is even a section where individuals can post questions related to their job. This site offers support and relieve to individuals in the Nursing Assistant field everyday. It is important for Nursing Assistants to be aware of the dangers of stress and burnout in their profession. Having a reliable support system in place is a great way to offset the effects of stress and burnout. While our families and friends are often supportive of our career choice, they don't understand the depth of some of the challenging issues that happen for Nursing Assistants in their job. Having a support group made up of your peers allows you a resource that is walking in the same shoes. If you are hesitant, give a meeting or two a try. You just might find it is exactly what you need to help you keep that level of enthusiasm for your job at its best.
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