What Does A Nursing Assistant Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Nursing Assistants

Nursing Assistants provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom, or move patients, or change linens. May transfer or transport patients. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides, and nursing attendants.

Salary
$32050
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Nursing Assistants provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom, or move patients, or change linens. May transfer or transport patients. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides, and nursing attendants.

  • Answer patient call signals, signal lights, bells, or intercom systems to determine patients’ needs.
  • Turn or reposition bedridden patients.
  • Provide physical support to assist patients to perform daily living activities, such as getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, standing, walking, or exercising.
  • Review patients’ dietary restrictions, food allergies, and preferences to ensure the patient receives an appropriate diet.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Nursing Assistants remind patients to take medications or nutritional supplements. They restock patient rooms with personal hygiene items, such as towels, washcloths, soap, or toilet paper.

A typical day for a Nursing Assistant will also include:

  • Prepare or serve food trays.
  • Review patients’ dietary restrictions, food allergies, and preferences to ensure the patient receives an appropriate diet.
  • Clean and sanitize patient rooms, bathrooms, examination rooms, or other patient areas.
  • Gather information from caregivers, nurses, or physicians about patient condition, treatment plans, or appropriate activities.
  • Observe or examine patients to detect symptoms that may require medical attention, such as bruises, open wounds, or blood in the urine.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Nursing Assistants also record the height or weight of patients. They may also collect specimens, such as urine, feces, or sputum.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Nursing Assistants stock or issue medical supplies, such as dressing packs or treatment trays. They might also wash, groom, shave, or drape patients to prepare them for surgery, treatment, or examination.

In addition, they provide information such as directions, visiting hours, or patient status information to visitors or callers.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them explain medical instructions to patients or family members.

To some Nursing Assistants, it is also their responsibility to apply clean dressings, slings, stockings, or support bandages, under the direction of a nurse or physician.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
6%

Very little freedom
18%

Limited freedom
25%

Some freedom
35%

A lot of freedom
17%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
13%

Limited freedom
22%

Some freedom
37%

A lot of freedom
27%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

72% said they were satisfied with their job and 78% said they found their job meaningful.


Blailin Baker
IntelyCare

I am a Certified Nursing Assistant.

A typical workday is an eight-hour shift in which I put residents to bed and perform evening care. The care provided is dependent on the resident, as everybody has their nightly routine. I’ll give showers and brush their teeth as well.

In my job, you meet people from all over the world. The stories they tell are fascinating, and I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve cared for. So giving them a listening ear and just being a friend to them is priceless. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Pros

The pros of being a CNA are that the hours are readily available and being able to help others live better lives is rewarding.

Working per diem for IntelyCare is great because I can fill my schedule in a way that works best for me and my family. I know many people choose to take holidays off. But still, I love to spend holidays with my family and then go to the facility for the off shift. I can go to work when my kids are asleep, and it’s just a great feeling to put smiles on the resident’s faces on the holidays.

Cons

A con is that the workload is different at every facility, so I always have to be ready for a lot of responsibilities.

The most complicated part of nursing is that not everyone’s stories have happy endings. Sometimes my patients don’t make it, and that’s the toughest part of the job for me – seeing them in their final days. But life is too short to let it impact the way I give care to the next patient. And I know the people I’ve taken care of wouldn’t want me to be down or depressed.

Blailin Baker
IntelyCare


Pros

Suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$32050 per year

Average hourly wage

$15 per hour

Entry-level Nursing Assistants with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $22,750 to $26,650 per year or $11 to $13 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $42,110 $20
Senior (Top 25%) $36,990 $18
Median $30,850 $15
Junior (Bottom 25%) $26,650 $13
No experience (Bottom 10%) $22,750 $11

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Nursing Assistants based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Junior Colleges $49250 $23.68
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $44870 $21.57
Federal Executive Branch $41210 $19.81
Scientific Research and Development Services $39630 $19.05
Outpatient Care Centers $38420 $18.47
Technical and Trade Schools $36970 $17.78
Religious Organizations $36620 $17.60
State Government $36290 $17.45
Insurance Carriers $35470 $17.05
Special Food Services $35370 $17.01

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Nursing Assistants work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Nursing Assistants including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) 527480 $31000 $14.90
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 374770 $33660 $16.18
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly 151540 $30600 $14.71
Home Health Care Services 77300 $29750 $14.30
Individual and Family Services 40850 $29550 $14.21
Employment Services 36490 $32330 $15.54
Specialty Hospitals 26260 $34240 $16.46
Local Government 25730 $34360 $16.52
Offices of Physicians 19330 $33580 $16.15
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities 16490 $29750 $14.30

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
48%

40 hours
44%

More than 40 hours
8%

Working schedule

99%

1%

1%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
5%

Fairly important
1%

Important
4%

Very important
18%

Extremely important
71%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
19%

Fairly important
18%

Important
11%

Very important
16%

Extremely important
37%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
15%

Fairly important
6%

Important
10%

Very important
32%

Extremely important
37%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
7%

Every day
12%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
17%

Every day
60%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
2%

Every day
85%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
42%

Once a year
9%

Once a month
40%

Once a week
9%

Every day
1%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
21%

Once a year
15%

Once a month
23%

Once a week
12%

Every day
29%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
20%

Once a year
3%

Once a month
26%

Once a week
24%

Every day
27%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
33%

Once a year
16%

Once a month
13%

Once a week
17%

Every day
21%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
39%

Slightly competitive
17%

Moderately competitive
24%

Highly competitive
7%

Extremely competitive
13%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
26%

Fairly important
2%

Important
20%

Very Important
28%

Extremely Important
24%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
7%

Minor impact
20%

Moderate impact
11%

Important impact
14%

Very important impact
49%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
15%

Once a year
10%

Once a month
5%

Once a week
11%

Every day
59%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
4%

Limited responsibility
7%

Moderate responsibility
14%

High responsibility
18%

Very high responsibility
56%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
14%

Limited responsibility
13%

Moderate responsibility
16%

High responsibility
33%

Very high responsibility
25%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
22%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
78%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
96%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
91%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
2%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
7%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
75%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
9%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
8%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
7%

High School Diploma or equivalent
60%

Post-Secondary Certificate
25%

Some College Courses
8%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
28%

1 month
2%

1 to 3 months
34%

3 to 6 months
10%

6 months to 1 year
24%

1 to 2 years
3%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 6 years
0%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
17%

1 month
50%

1 to 3 months
18%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
2%

1 to 2 years
4%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 10 years
4%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

The Builder
62%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
24%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
19%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
95%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
24%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
81%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
43%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
45%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
33%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
81%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
67%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
33%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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