Nursing Assistants Career Video
Description: Transport patients to areas such as operating rooms or x-ray rooms using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds. May maintain stocks of supplies or clean and transport equipment. Psychiatric orderlies are included in Psychiatric Aides.
Every hospital, clinic, and nursing home relies on a team of skilled staff to provide personal care to patients; nursing assistants and orderlies are an important part of that team. Under the supervision of nursing staff, nursing assistants provide basic care for patients, while orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas. Nursing assistants answer patient call signals, turn or reposition bedridden patients, and ensure each patient receives the appropriate diet. They help patients with daily living activities such as getting out of bed, using the bathroom, bathing, and walking. Nursing assistants measure vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature. They observe and listen to patients’ health concerns, then document and share them with supervising nurses. Orderlies move patients between bed and wheelchair or gurney, change bed linens, stock supplies, and clean facilities. Most nursing assistants work in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and in home health care. Most orderlies work in hospitals. Nursing assistants and orderlies typically work full time. Their work is physically demanding, with long hours spent on their feet and lifting and moving patients, so injuries are a risk. Work schedules that include nights, weekends, and holidays are common. Nursing assistants must complete state-approved training, lasting from a few months to a year, then pass their state’s certification exam. Orderlies typically have at least a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training.