Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $24,190
- 2011, number of jobs: 1,466,700
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 20 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary non-degree award
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants; what they do:
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants may very well be the most important part of someone’s day. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants care for patients in hospitals and in long-term care facilities, helping them perform basic daily functions such as eating, bathing, going to the bathroom, and cleaning.
For patients confined to a bed or wheelchair, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants help reposition the patient for comfort and transportation to another bed or wheelchair. Nursing aides and attendants often take a patient’s blood pressure, temperature, and sometimes may dispense medications. Orderlies do not provide healthcare services.
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants have a great deal of daily contact with patients and may develop close relationships with them.
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants all work together under the supervision of a licensed practice or vocational nurse or registered nurse.
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants job titles:
- Nursing assistant
- Nurse assistant
- Certified Nursing Technician
- Certified Nursing Assistant
Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants Education, Certification and License Requirements
Nursing aides and attendants typically need a postsecondary certificate or award. Many community colleges and vocational schools provide a certified nursing assistant program.
Nursing aide and attendants programs teach the basic principles of nursing and include supervised clinical work. Nursing aide and attendants programs are available through community colleges, technical schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Orderlies typically need at least a high school diploma and may receive on-the-job training if they are not involved in patient care.
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants programs cover subjects such as:
- Body mechanics
- Health aid theory
- Nursing assistant theory
- Medical terminology
- Basic nursing care
- Basic home care
- Basic personal care
After nursing aides and attendants complete their state-required education, they need to take a competency exam, which allows them to use state-specific titles. Passing the exam places nursing aides and attendants on a state registry. Individuals have to be in the registry to work in a nursing home. Some states require continued education and a criminal background check.
Career Advancement Opportunities
In some states, nursing aides and attendants may obtain additional credentials beyond Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) and become a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA), which allows them to dispense medication to patients.
Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants Job Outlook
Forecast: 20 percent employment growth for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
The large aging population requires more nursing aides, attendants, and orderlies for long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. However, employment growth may be slightly hindered because many nursing homes receive government funding, which generally increases slower than the cost of patient care.
Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $24,190
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $29,270
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $20,770
Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants Major Employers
- Nursing and residential care facilities
- Hospitals; state, local, and private
- Home health care services
- Employment services