How to Become a Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants are vital professionals within the health care system who provide basic patient care under the direction and supervision of advanced nursing staff, and consequently, many are wondering how to become a nursing assistant. Nursing assistants are also known as nurses aides and must possess specialized training in order to qualify to care for the ill or injured within nursing homes, mental health facilities, hospitals, and medical centers. Nursing assistants are the primary caregivers who establish positive, compassionate relationships with the people in their care and provide basic grooming, feeding, and bathing to patients. Nursing assistants escort patients with mobility issues by offering help rising out of beds and by transporting patients to operating or examination rooms. Nursing assistants also perform routine support to nurses and other staff by monitoring patients’ temperatures, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure as well as serving meals, answering phones, changing linens, and delivering messages.

Nursing assistants are not required to complete formal training programs to qualify for employment and many may prepare for their careers while they are high school students. Courses like: English, Algebra, physical education, health, chemistry, biology, and psychology offer students the ability to increase knowledge and refine skills. Some schools provide instruction through technical or vocational programs in addition to general education courses.

High school graduates often advance to on the job training programs to gradually gain the skills and training necessary to work as professional nursing assistants. Many may also choose to continue studies within vocational schools, online programs, or community colleges to gain employment as certified nursing assistants. The National League for Nursing Accredited Commission accredits a number of nursing assistant training programs and ensures students receive adequate education necessary for career success.

Vocational school programs allow students to complete studies within one year and offer courses like: fundamentals of nursing, anatomy/physiology, contemporary health issues vocational adjustment, nutrition and diet therapy, growth and development, introduction to pharmacology, psychiatric nursing, medical-surgical nursing, maternal and child health, biology, chemistry, first aid, physical education, emergency medical technology, and clinical practical patient care. Individuals who complete vocational school programs advance to employment or may continue studies within associate degree programs.

Associate degree programs in medical assisting provide students with an expanded understanding of the field. Courses include: introduction to health sciences, medical law and bioethics, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, diseases of the human body, medical office management, medical coding and insurance, professionalism in health care, clinical competencies, and medical assisting externship and evaluations. Graduates with associate degrees advance to employment as nursing assistants.

Nursing assistants are required to successfully complete federally regulated licensing programs to work as certified nurses aides within nursing care and other medical facilities. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing offers candidates examinations to demonstrate their knowledge of the field and gain or maintain certification. Additionally, nursing assistants are required to continue education to remain current with lectures, workshops, and employer training programs. We hope this information on how to become a nursing assistant is helpful in launching your nursing assistant career.

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