Nursing Assistant Help Patients-Placing the patient in the most comfortable position for breathing and avoiding pain. Adjusting the patient’s position frequently to avoid pressure sores. Bathing and grooming the patient frequently, if the care plan allows.
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.
Duties of a Nursing Assistant Help Patients
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.
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.
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.
Support Groups for Nursing Assistant Help Patients
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 Help Patients 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.
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.