A nurse aide is a medical professional who assists doctors and nurses with an array of different procedures. He or she might help identify a patient's symptoms, conduct initial screenings and interviews, and monitor vital signs. An aide usually helps patients with basic tasks, such as getting dressed, walking, using the bathroom, and bathing. There are many different types of nurse aide jobs, as most professionals specialize with certain populations of patients. Nurse aide jobs are available in hospitals, medical clinics, home health care companies, mental health facilities, and substance abuse treatment centers.
Many nurse aide jobs can be found in general hospitals, public health clinics, nursing homes, and private practices. Nurse aides in clinical settings might be responsible for helping patients get in and out of bed, walk around, and eat meals. Many aides bathe and dress patients who are unable to do so themselves. Aides may take vital signs and inform doctors and nurses of any changes to patients' conditions. They also perform general housekeeping duties, such as changing sheets and removing trash and dishes from patients' rooms.
Nurse aides in psychiatric wards and treatment centers often act as caregivers, security guards, and companions to clients. Aides in mental health settings may be required to perform many of the same duties required in other nurse aide jobs, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding clients. They are often responsible for checking on clients throughout the day and night to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and staff. In addition, psychiatric nurse aides act as mentors, playing games with clients, engaging in conversation, and accompanying them on outings and walks around a facility.
Individuals who receive home health care depend on the skills of qualified nurse aides. Personal aides often help individuals by managing their daily tasks, such as housekeeping, sending mail, paying bills, and making phone calls. Depending on a patient's needs, an aide may be responsible for administering oral medication, monitoring heart rate and blood pressure, and informing nurses of any physical and emotional changes.
The requirements to hold different nurse aide jobs can vary, though most aides are high school graduates with personal or professional experience caring for others. New workers generally receive on-the-job training from nurses and other established aides to learn about specific procedures. Many psychology, nursing, and medical school students choose to work as aides while pursuing their degrees in order to gain experience in the field.