If there’s one nursing staff who gets to know the patients closely, it’s nursing assistants! Nursing assistants are responsible for taking care of patients’ basic needs. Most nursing assistants work in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. After the nurses and other medical staff have left the room, the nursing assistant is there to help with everything from personal hygiene and eating to taking a walk around the hallways or straightening up a resident’s room. In this hands-on role, nursing assistants have a front row view of what’s going on with their patients. Nursing assistants know…
…How to stay calm
Nursing assistants handle hundreds of responsibilities every day. They may be asked for help by the head nurse, other nursing assistants, patients, residents, and family members. Patients’ needs don’t follow a regular schedule, and as a result, the nursing assistant has to be at the ready to respond in a calm and reassuring manner. As a nursing assistant, you never know when a new issue will arise, and you will get very good at handling the unexpected!
…How to be compassionate
Most nursing home residents and long term care patients need a high level of care. They may have lost the ability to do the things that were once easy, such as bathing themselves, feeding themselves, and moving about their room. Nursing assistants need to be understanding and patient when it comes to working with this population. Nursing assistants realize that it is not easy for their patients to be in this position, and they are able to serve them with respect and compassion.
…How to stay safe
Nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals can be breeding grounds for infectious diseases, so nursing assistants are trained in infection control and prevention. Nursing assistants know how to follow the proper protocols for preventing infections. They follow strict hand-washing procedures, use gloves when needed, dispose of materials safely, and follow other safety practices that help to keep themselves and the patients from spreading infections.
…How to provide care for seniors
Nursing assistants are often hired in nursing homes where they tend to the needs of older people every day. Their training focuses on geriatric issues, and how to work with patients with special needs, such as those with dementia, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. Over time, nursing assistants not only provide for the needs of the seniors, but they also develop positive relationships with the residents and have a keen sense of how to work with seniors.
…How to act professionally and ethically
Like all healthcare providers, nursing assistants need to understand patient privacy laws. They are trained in HIPAA and understand the importance of protecting a patient’s privacy. Because they work so closely with patients and their personal needs, they often see patients in vulnerable and undignified situations. As professionals, they know to respect their patients and keep any of these situations private.
…How to be proactive with their patients
Many nursing assistants seem to have a sixth sense about what their patients need. Because they work so closely with their patients, day in and day out, they spend more time with them than the head nurses and doctor staff. They get to know their patients well, and seem to know what the patients need even before they ask. They also learn to work with head nurses, and eventually learn to anticipate their needs too. Being proactive like this is one of the great traits of nursing assistants.
The Nursing Assistant program at the Harris Casel Institute is offered at our Melbourne, Florida campus. If you are interested in starting this career field, find out more about getting trained at Harris Casel.