What Does a Nurse Aide Do? (With Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Nurse aides give basic nursing care to patients under the supervision of other medical professionals. The assistance of nurse aides can have a direct influence on the patient's recuperation. Thoroughly comprehending what a nurse aide does and how to become one can help you decide if it's a good job for you. In this article, we discuss what a nurse aide does, list the essential skills for this role, provide the average salary for the role and explain the typical work environment you can expect.

Related: What Does a Nurse Educator Do? (With Steps to Become One)

What does a nurse aide do?

A nurse aide is a trained medical practitioner who supports registered nurses and physicians with essential medical activities and basic patient care. They may also support nurses with administrative chores and work in a range of health settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and rehabilitation centres. Because many health care institutions are open all day, nurse aides can work a range of shifts. Nursing aides may operate in a challenging atmosphere that involves face-to-face encounters with nurses, patients, physicians and other medical professionals.

Nurse aides adhere to the orders of their certified nurse supervisors and help with other relevant caregiving activities. Aides at small clinics and health care facilities may also be in charge of scheduling appointments, checking in patients, managing insurance paperwork, answering phone calls from pharmacies concerning prescriptions and performing other administrative activities. Listed below are some common duties outlining what nurse aides do each day:

  • assisting with a variety of administrative duties

  • keeping track of the patient's vital signs and health

  • assisting patients with washing, changing clothing and eating

  • administering and giving medications to patients

  • keeping the patient's rooms clean

  • serving meals and aiding patients to eat

  • updating patient paperwork and gathering medical histories

  • cleaning the patient's room or ward and making the patient's bed

  • notifying the nurse of any changes or significant observations

  • checking and documenting patients' vital signs

  • assisting with bathroom needs

  • obtaining patient medical histories

  • monitoring and guiding patients to do exercises

  • transporting patients to various locations across the hospital

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Essential skills for a nurse aide

As a nurse aide, you can expect to have direct contact with both patients and members of the medical team. It's important to exhibit a variety of abilities, including:

Compassion

It's important that your patients know that they have your support. Hence, showing them understanding and care is necessary. You may also speak with the patient's friends and family members, who may have concerns about their loved one. Patients may not be in the best of health. Your goal is to not only offer care for them but also to soothe and reassure them. You cannot be an excellent nursing assistant unless you have compassion.

Related: What Does a Nurse Do? (Include Steps to Become One)

Physical stamina

Nurse aides are frequently on their feet for lengthy periods of time while caring for patients. It's essential that they're able to stand, walk and climb stairs. Nurse aides may also lift or turn patients to help them with personal hygiene, relocate them in their beds, transport them for medical check-ups and treatments or assist them with wheelchairs. It's critical for nurse aides to be physically healthy to execute these jobs.

Social and emotional intelligence

It's important for nurse aides to be emotionally intelligent to care for all patients. This ability can help them assess patients and monitor them for any indications or symptoms that they may report to doctors. It can also aid in the development of a favourable connection with patients to make their stay in the institution more enjoyable. Emotional intelligence is essential for nurse aides to establish and maintain a smooth and well-functioning atmosphere.

Related: How To Become a Medical Coder

Communication

Because nurse aides usually work alone with patients, communicating well with them is critical. Both verbal and textual communication is essential. As a nurse aide, you may be responsible for accurately recording patient and treatment information and relaying relevant information to the rest of the health care team.

Practical knowledge

A practical understanding of medicine and fundamental health care procedures may assist nursing aides in carrying out most of their responsibilities. It's essential for nurse aides to check temperatures, record blood pressure and watch for indications of improvement in patients. While theoretical information gained as part of their training programme is beneficial, many nursing aides learn and continue to learn more on the job.

Ability to function well under duress

Working under pressure means managing constraints typically beyond your control. Nurse aides are to maintain their cool under pressure since surgeons rely on them for support during surgery. Their ability to retain focus in the face of difficulty might help nurses and physicians conduct life-saving treatments.

Collaboration and teamwork

Nurse aides are to be outstanding team players since they work with other healthcare professionals to complete operations and improve patient outcomes. When nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers work together effectively, they can save more lives, enhance patient experiences and reduce operating costs. You may improve your collaboration abilities by working on your communication skills, establishing interdepartmental relationships and sourcing feedback from your team members.

Flexibility

Schedule flexibility is essential for nurse aides. Overnight shifts, split shifts, holidays and weekends and extended-day schedules are all possibilities for nurse aides. Nurse aides may work extra in emergencies to guarantee the management and fulfilment of all patient requirements.

Detail-orientation

Nurse aides are to pay close attention to detail since their job has a major impact on the quality of health care that patients get. It's important that you strictly adhere to diet and medication directions. There may be notes on wound care or treatment plans to adhere to while carefully recording facts. Nurse aides are to be careful in their job besides being on time and attentive when on duty. When they wash or change a patient's bandage, being gentle can help to avoid further harm or aggravation.

Organisational abilities

The majority of nursing assistants provide care to many patients at the same time. This means maintaining a variety of medications, care plans and management techniques and keeping neat and organised. It's critical to guarantee that each patient receives the necessary treatment. You may work with little supervision, which means managing your workload effectively can help you provide the best possible care.

Related: 10 Common Nursing Skills: Definitions and Examples

The average salary for a nurse aide

The national average salary for a nurse aide is $24,167 per year. Salaries for nurse aides might vary depending on education level, years of experience and industry expertise. It also depends on the location and the type of medical health environment.

Related: How Much Do Nurses Make? (With Factors That Affect Their Pay)

Workplace environment for a nurse aide

Nursing assistants frequently work for a hospital, clinic or home care service. The placement of the nurse aide is highly dependent on the patient's requirements and the nursing assistant's speciality. The nursing assistant may work at the patient's home or in a hospital ward. They may give one-on-one care to a single patient or care for several patients at the same time.

Because patients require care at all hours of the day and night, nursing assistants may work full or part-time hours, rotating shift patterns or overnights. For the majority of the working shift, the nursing aide's duty entails working directly with patients and their families. They may also undertake administrative chores at the office or the patient's home. A typical day for a nurse aide entails:

  • standing and walking for long stretches of time

  • lifting and twisting patients

  • stretching and bending patients

  • travelling to patients' homes

Example of a nurse aide job description

Here's an example of how a job description may look like for a related position:

Ang Mo Kio Clinic is rapidly expanding, and we have several openings for highly qualified, compassionate and courteous nurse aides. The ideal applicant recognises the significance of delivering exceptional patient care and assistance and can make our patients feel at ease and respected. It's important for our nurse aide to be able to work well as part of a group. Applicants with at least three years of experience in a similar job are preferable.

Day-to-day responsibilities entail:

  • physically assisting patients with personal hygiene and everyday care

  • turning, lifting and repositioning bedridden individuals

  • making sure that those patients have adequate nourishment

  • measuring, monitoring and recording the patient's vital signs

  • reporting changes and updates to the nurses and physicians in charge

  • assisting patients with drug administration

  • observing and reporting on the conduct of patients

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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