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Oswego Career Ladders - Certified Nurse Assistant

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Certified Nurse Assistant

Industry: Healthcare
Area: Nursing and Direct Patient Care

Nursing Aides, sometimes called nurse assistants, orderlies, and geriatric aides, assist in the care of patients. They work under the direction and supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and other medical staff. Nursing Aides have a great deal of contact with patients and provide personal care such as bathing, feeding, and dressing. They also perform support functions such as transporting patients, taking vital signs, making beds, helping patients become ambulatory, and answering patient calls. They might also be called upon to set up equipment such as X-ray machines and overhead irrigation bottles. Nursing Aides are often responsible for observing and reporting how patients respond to the care that is being given. Nursing Aides employed in nursing homes are called geriatric aides. These nurses have far more contact with residents than any of the other staff, and are therefore expected to develop ongoing relationships with the patients and treat them in a positive, caring way. To be a successful Nurse Aide, an individual must be a team player who is able to take orders well. They must also be emotionally stable and have a great deal of patience.

Work Settings

Nursing Aides work in a variety of different health care settings. These include hospitals, physicians offices, home health agencies, nursing homes, private homes, and mental health institutions. They are on their feet most of the time and may be required to lift and move patients, so physical fitness is a plus.


Most employers require a high school diploma or the equivalent and a Nurse Aide Certificate. Training is offered in a variety of settings, which may include high schools, vocational schools, community colleges, geriatric facilities, and employers.

Job Outlook

There is an expected 21%-35% growth in the job market over the next decade.


Average Annual$16,400

Work Schedule

Hospitals and nursing homes provide care 24 hours a day so Nursing Aides might work day, evening, or night shifts. They also work on weekends and holidays. Most full-time Aides have a regular shift and work from 32 to 40 hours a week. Part-time schedules are also available.

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