|Number of Jobs:||302,000|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#24|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#68|
Nursing aides might not perform heart transplants like the surgeons on Grey’s Anatomy, but they still hold patients’ lives in their hands each day—literally. From toileting, bathing, and spoon-feeding patients in hospitals to providing them with oral care and moving them from one operating room to the next, nursing aides, attendants, and orderlies are actively involved in helping the frail and the elderly make it through the day. That’s why patience and endurance benefit those interested in pursuing a career in this field. “It’s a very labor-intensive and time-consumptive process,” says Lisa Cantrell, a registered nurse and co-founder and chief clinical officer of the National Association of Healthcare Assistants (NAHCA). Nursing aides commonly work in nursing care facilities and hospitals, but others work at community care facilities for the elderly and home health care services. Unlike orderlies who primarily transport patients to and from hospital operating rooms and sterilize medical equipment and facilities, nursing aides take note of patients’ health problems and often take their blood pressures and temperatures.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment growth of about 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than average for all occupations. There should be more than 300,000 new positions for nursing aides, assistants, and orderlies by the close of this decade.
According to the BLS, nursing aides earned $24,190 in 2011, or approximately $11.63 per hour. The best-paid earned about $35,170, while the lowest-paid earned about $18,060. Metro areas like San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., and San Jose, Calif., compensate nursing aides well.
Most nursing aide and attendant jobs require a postsecondary certificate or award that allows them to both learn the nuts and bolts of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. Prospective nursing aides and attendants don’t have to attend four-year universities or colleges to obtain this training. They can learn these skills at community colleges, vocational and technical schools, and in hospitals and nursing homes. Even some high schools house nursing aide programs. For prospective orderlies, the training process is a little less rigorous. They only need a high school diploma, and those who aren’t actively involved in patient care may even be trained on the job.
Anyone interested in becoming a nursing aide should be compassionate, patient, and have good speaking skills. Expressing compassion and empathy for the sick men and women they care for daily, maintaining patience in the midst of stressful situations, and being able to effectively share their patients’ concerns with doctors and other health workers are key for excelling as a nursing aide.
|Stress Level||Above Average|