Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants Overview

Nursing Aides, orderlies, and attendants usually work in hospitals, nursing facilities, and residential care facilities. Though specific qualifications will vary by occupation, most nursing aides, orderlies and attendants are required to have a high school diploma.

The job of a nursing aide, orderly and attendant involves emotional demands, modest entry requirements, low pay and limited room to advance.

Many new job openings and opportunities for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants are expected.

Nature of the Work for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

Nursing aides, commonly referred to as direct care workers, help care for physically and mentally ill, injured and disable people. Nursing aides work in nursing care facilities, mental health facilities or hospitals.

There are many names for nursing aides that are interchangeable, such as nursing assistants, certified nursing assistants, geriatric aides or nurse aides. Under the supervision of nursing and medical staff, nursing aides provide hands-on care to patients who need long time care.

Nursing aides will help patients perform daily tasks such as eat, dress, and bathe. They will also help them with tasks such as serving meals, delivering messages, helping them out of bed, making beds, escorting them to examining rooms and tidying up rooms. Some nursing aides are responsible for taking a patient’s temperature, blood pressure, or pulse rate.

Some nursing aides will also help with equipment set up as well as assisting with procedures to observe a patient’s physical, mental and emotional conditions.

When nursing aides are working in nursing care facilities, nursing aides tend to have more contact with patients than other members of the staff. Sometimes due to a patient’s extensive stay, nursing aides can build caring relationships with these patients.

The physical demands of a nursing aide include prolonged standing and walking as well as potential back injury from helping patients in and out of bed. Nursing aides can also risk the hazards of being in close proximity to injection and disease but can remain unaffected when taking the proper safety procedures.

For nursing aides, orderliness, and attendants, their rate for non-fatal injuries and illness is high, between the 98th and 99th percentile.

Other courses of actions nursing aides take which might be deemed unpleasant, are emptying bedpans and changing soiled linens.

The typical workweek for a nursing aide would be 40 hours. Shifts vary from morning, afternoon, night and weekends due to the fact that patients need assistance at all hours of the day.

24 percent of nursing aides, orderlies and attendants work a part-time schedule.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

Though specific qualifications vary by state, nursing aides are required to have a high school diploma in order to find a job.

Training to become a nursing aide is offered in places such as high schools, vocational-technical centers, some nursing care facilities, and some community colleges. Typical nursing aide courses one would have to complete would be body mechanics, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, infection control, communication skills, resident rights and personal skills. In order to work in a hospital, some may require a nursing aide to have previous work experience. For newly hired aides, some employers will provide classroom instruction while others use on-the-job instruction by a licensed nurse aide. Training like this can last a few days or a few months. Nursing aides are also encouraged to attend lectures and workshops during their training.

For nursing aides working in nursing care facilities, they must complete at least 75 hours of State-approved training and be able to pass the competency evaluation. Once completed, nursing aides are referred to as CNAs, certified nurse assistants and will be placed in the State registry. Each state has different requirements so one should check before entering any program. Nursing aides must undergo a physical examination as well as background check before entering the workplace.

Nursing aides should have characteristics such as being patient and understanding as well as emotionally stable. Being able to work in a team and good communication skills are also important for nursing aides.

In order for a nursing aide to advance in his or her career, formal training or education is usually required to do so. In order for nursing aides to enter other health occupations such as licensed practical nursing or medical assistants, they must complete some type of education or training.

For many people, working as nursing aide serves as an entry-level job and for those in school it is an easy way to work while working towards an education.

Top 10 Most Popular Nurse/Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant Schools

1. Gateway Technical College (Kenosha, Wisconsin)
2. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (Shell Lake, Wisconsin)
3. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay Green Bay, Wisconsin)
4. Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, Kansas)
5. Fox Valley Technical College (Appleton, Wisconsin)
6. Front Range Community College (University Park, Pennsylvania)
7. University of Colorado, Boulder (Wausau, Wisconsin)
8. Air Force Institute of Technology - Graduate School of Engineering & Management (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
9. University of Maryland, College Park (La Crosse, Wisconsin)
10. The University of Texas at Austin (New Orleans, Louisiana)

See All Nurse/Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant Schools

Most Popular Online Nurse/Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant Schools

1. Lake Region Technical College - Online School
2. Quinnipiac University - Online School
3. A.T.Still University - School of Health Management
4. St. Joseph's College - Online School

Employment and Job Outlook for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

Number of People in Profession

1,438,010

Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow faster than average (increase 14 - 19%).

Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants held the most jobs, at approximately 1.5 million.

Excellent job opportunities are open for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants thanks to the projected employment rate of 19 percent.

Since financial pressures on hospitals sometimes forces patients to discharge early, nursing care facility admission will boost, meaning more jobs for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants.

Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants jobs will be crucial as medical technology modernizes and long-term care is especially needed.

Since nursing facilities rely on government funding, job growth for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants can be affected.

Due to low pay and high physical and emotional demands, there may not be that many nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants’ entering the workplace.

Earnings and Salary for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

Median hourly wages of nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants were $11.56. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.85 and $13.94 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.42, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $16.33 an hour.

Annual Salary for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

On average, Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants earn $ 24,040 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $ 17,510/yr $ 20,490/yr $ 28,990/yr $ 33,970/yr

Hourly Wage for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

On average, Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants earn $ 11.56 per hour.

10% 25% 75% 90% $ 8.42 $ 9.85 $ 13.94 $ 16.33

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook