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Being a Nursing Assistant can lead to a Career as a Nurse

A Nursing Assistant certificate allows you the opportunity to secure employment at entry-level in the medical field. This position requires compassion and dedication to assisting others. It also requires a high level of effective communication as well as attention for detail. Most people entering the Nursing Assistant profession find it to be a rewarding and challenging career. However, many choose to use it as a building block for becoming a Nurse.

The program for becoming a Nursing Assistant is very fast compared with the time it takes to earn a degree in Nursing. Therefore, many see it as a logic choice to gain experience in the medical field. It is an excellent idea for those that aren’t sure if Nursing is for them. It is better to spend four to twelve weeks in training to find out then to spend two or more years working on a Nursing degree.

There are individuals who must maintain employment while pursuing their education degree for financial reasons. For individuals in this position, completing the Nursing Assistant program offers them a way to secure employment that is related to what they are going to school for.

Others choose to advance their career once they have been working as a Nurse Assistant because they see many of the tasks Nurses are responsible for. It is a level of responsibility they wish to acquire. Since they work so closely with the Nursing staff, it is a perfect opportunity to explore more of what takes place. Others have a sincere desire to further their education, but for a variety of reasons have not been able to.

There is a significant pay difference between working as a Nursing Assistant and having a degree as a Nurse. The dollar amount varies based on location, but on average the difference is $4 to $9 per hour more. It doesn’t take long at all for the overall income difference to be seen. Nursing assistants often decide that they want to work in the medical field, but definitely want to be paid more for their work. Of course, the level of responsibility differs greatly between a Nursing Assistant and a Nurse.

Working at a medical facility as a Nursing Assistant can work to your advantage when you decide to pursue a degree in Nursing. It might help you get into the program if there is more interest in the program than enrollment opportunities.

Due to the continuous demand for qualified trained professionals in the area of Nursing, most medical facilities will support you in your efforts to further your education. They will often adjust your work schedule to accommodate you whenever possible.

Tuition assistance programs are offered by many employers in the medical field. They work in a variety of ways. Some will cover a percentage of your tuition; others will pay up to a particular dollar amount. Often, you will be required to agree to work for them for a particular length of time or have to reimburse them for any tuition paid on your behalf. Others won’t pay anything while you are attending school, but will offer tuition reimbursement upon completion of your Nursing degree.

Another advantage of working as a Nursing Assistant prior to obtaining your degree in Nursing is you will have an edge over other recent graduates. You will have work experience to offer in combination with your degree while many others will only have their degree.

Employers like to maintain their quality employees. If you are able to show outstanding work ethic as a Nursing Assistance, it is very likely they will offer you a position as a Nurse upon your completion of your degree. This often depends on the job openings at the medical facility you work for.

Your certificate and work experience as a Nurse Assistant can help make career opportunities appear. It may peak your interest in returning to school to work on your Nursing degree for a variety of reasons. It can help you be accepted to a Nursing program, as well as help you secure employment after completing your Nursing degree.

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Nursing Assistant Relationships with Other Staff

To be an effective Nursing Assistant, you must have excellent communication skills. You will be communicating throughout your daily activities with patients, their family and friends, and an array of medical staff. You will work directly with the Nursing staff. This will be a very important area to develop strong relationships in. You will also be communicating with physicians, X-Ray technicians, lab staff, surgery units, and emergency services. Therefore, it is very important that you continually work on your communication style and effectiveness. Your job will be much easier if you are able to establish good relationships with other staff members.

As a Nursing Assistant, you will be overseen by the Nursing staff. They will depend on your to report accurate information on patient charts. You need to be sure you are documenting what they ate and how much, their vital signs, and any changes you notice. If you think something requires immediate attention from a Nurse, then you need to be able to communicate that message effectively. You also need to feel comfortable going to the Nursing staff for assistance and questions as the need arises.

Since Nursing Assistants have far more one on one interactions with patients, other staff often depends on their observations to assist them. It is very common for Nurses and Doctors to ask the Nursing Assistant about sudden changes in a patient’s behavior. Therefore, paying attention to detail is very important. You will want to pay attention to your instincts that something is wrong and report it immediately to the proper staff member.

In the ideal working environment, Nursing Assistants are valued for their contributions to the medical field. They are respected by the other staff and informed of changes and important decisions. However, in many medical facilities, Nursing Assistants are frustrated because they feel they aren’t in the loop. The often complain of being left in the dark as to what is taking place among other staff members. The biggest complaint is with the Nurses.

Nursing Assistants claim that when they have tried to explain patient information to Nursing staff, they are dismissed as if they aren’t credible because they don’t have the education to determine such information. They also feel that they report all changes to the medical staff, yet no one is reporting changes to them about the patient such as new medications or a new diet. This can be very frustrating for Nursing Assistants. This kind of issue can lead to a divided work staff who aren’t working together in the best interest of the patients.

There are five ways employers can work with staff to eliminate such issues. Enforcing these goals will allow medical staff to develop better relationships on an ongoing basis, providing better care for patients. It often helps with the moral of the staff as well. Everyone should get a brief overview of what the other medical staff is responsible to do. Too often one group of people feel they do more than another because they just aren’t aware of everything that particular job description entails. This will help staff members value the work of others more. Asking Nursing Assistants for their input and opinion often builds relationships with other staff because they feel part of the overall care process for patients. Recognize the talents of each other and your abilities. This will help balance out strengths and weaknesses, enabling all staff to provide better quality care to patients. It is important to be supportive of other medical staff, not just those with the same title as you. Nurturing new staff is also very important. They need to feel as if they are part of the team from the minute they enter the door on their first day of work.

The relationships Nursing Assistants develop with other staff are very important. This starts will realizing your own communication style, and improving your communication skills. It may also require you to address issues with administration to develop ways for communications among the medical staff to improve. Be ready to offer ideas to make it happen when you approach administration. With the overall goal being to provide excellent care for all patients, communication that works well for everyone is a great place to start.

Precautions Nursing Assistants Should Take

Being a Nursing Assistant is a very rewarding career for those who choose to enter the medical field with a thirst for knowledge and a dedication to helping others. Your Nursing Assistant course, clinical, and trainings often don’t prepare you for precautions you need to take. Most employers don’t either. Therefore it is the responsibility of every Nursing Assistant to learn about them on their own.

One of the hardest parts of being a Nursing Assistant is taking direction from many other staff on the medical team. They are to report directly to the Nursing staff. It is not uncommon for each Nurse to have a slightly different way they want things to be done. This makes the job of the Nursing Assistant even more challenging. You need to be willing to stand up for yourself and the other Nursing Assistants.

If this type of issue is ongoing in the medical facility you work at, go to the charge Nurse. Explain why the changes among the Nursing staff are confusing and counter productive. Most charge Nurses will look into the situation, and help put policies, procedures, and trainings into place so that all staff knows exactly how something needs to be done.

Nursing Assistants are often required to life patients while bathing, dressing, or even getting them ready to go eat. It is important that you are properly trained in this procedure, or you can injury your back or other body parts. You also run the risk of causing injury to the patient. Since medical facilities are often short-staffed, Nursing Assistants try to lift patients alone when they know they are to have a partner assist them. This is dangerous to your health, to your patient, and to your job security. Never cut corners on such practices no matter how much time they save you.

Communicable diseases are very important to avoid as a Nursing Assistance. You will likely be trained in communicable diseases both in your Nursing Assistant training and your employment orientation. However, it is important to remember that most communicable diseases are spread through bodily fluids. No matter how tight your time schedule is, if you find a patient has soiled their clothing or bed, make sure you use rubber gloves, clean the area properly including using a disinfectant, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This will help reduce you risk of infection from communicable diseases.

Many patients who require the care of a Nursing Assistant don’t want it. This can lead to a variety of feelings including depression, being upset, anger, and hatred. Often, this mix of feelings gets released onto the Nursing Assistant. You may find yourself receiving verbal abuse and sometimes physical abuse from patients as a result. It is very important that you deal with this type of situation immediately. For verbal abuse, tell the patient you understand they are upset but that you are there to help them with… then proceed to tell them what you will be assisting with. Leave the room if they continue to be in that state of mind. Report the incident according to your employer’s policies.

Physical abuse is more dangerous than emotional abuse. Patients need to understand that it will not be tolerated under any circumstances. If you have to defend yourself, yell for help or call out a code word according to your employer’s policies. It is vital that you report any incident of physical abuse immediately to your supervisor. Document the incident including what took place, the type of physical abuse, and any self-defense holds or moves you did to protect yourself. This becomes important if the patient later claims you abused them.

Avoiding burnout is another key area for Nursing Assistants to be aware of. This is the result of continually feeling overwhelmed by your job duties. The medical field ranks number one in the area of job burnout. It is important that you pay attention to burnout and these other precautions. This will enable you to further enjoy your employment as a Nursing Assistant.