Nursing Assistant Duties, Education and Job Outlook


With skill and compassion, nursing assistants play a vital role in healthcare. Enrolling in a nursing assistant education program can set you on the course for an entry-level position in a hospital or nursing facility, with the opportunity to enhance the lives of patients every day. If you’re interested in joining the expanding allied health field, becoming a nursing assistant can get you started in healthcare.

What Is the Role of a Nursing Assistant?

While many people are familiar with the role nurses play in patient care, some may ask, “What is a nursing assistant?” Nursing assistants can be found wherever there is a need for personal patient care. Also known as nursing aides, these professionals perform basic day-to-day tasks to support the entire medical team in properly caring for ill, injured or disabled people.

At most facilities, nursing assistants work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or other medical staff. Qualified nursing assistants are relied upon to provide basic care, which frees up RNs and LPNs to perform more complex tasks and procedures that may require advanced training.

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Nursing assistant job duties vary, but typically involve a great deal of hands-on contact. These healthcare workers are often responsible for helping patients with basic functions such as dressing, bathing and eating. Nursing assistants may also help patients in and out of bed, take them for walks, help them into wheelchairs and assist them with exercises. Other nursing assistant duties might include taking and recording vital signs, monitoring nutrition and hydration and reporting changes in patients’ mental or physical condition to other members of the medical team.

Within some nursing facilities, nursing assistants may serve as patients’ primary caregivers. In this role, they are often expected to provide social and emotional support to their patients. Whereas nursing assistants in hospitals may work with different patients every day, a long-term care environment often fosters closer relationships between nursing assistants and their patients.

Nursing Assistant Requirements and Training

While nursing assistant positions may require a minimum of a high school diploma, nursing assistant education and certification can help candidates distinguish themselves from other applicants.

Nursing assistant programs help students acquire the skills and knowledge needed for entry-level positions. Some programs are also designed to help students prepare for the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) exam. CNAs have a demonstrated level of proficiency that is sought by many prospective healthcare employers.

Beyond having technical skills and medical knowledge, nursing assistants are usually required to work well in a team environment and possess personal attributes such as tact, patience, dependability and good physical health.

Nursing Assistant Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of nursing aides, orderlies and attendants is projected to grow faster than the average occupation, with a 19% increase in available jobs between 2008 and 2018.*

BLS reports suggest that nursing aide employment will grow predominantly as a response to the increasing long-term care needs of a growing elderly population. The agency notes that rising admissions to nursing home facilities will create new jobs, as will scientific and technological advances that increase the lifespan of the general population. Based on this anticipated employment growth, the BLS believes the nursing assistant job outlook should be excellent for individuals with an interest in and aptitude for this type of work.

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UMA’s Nursing Assistant Education and Career Services

If you feel you would be suited to a career in healthcare as a nursing assistant, consider enrolling in a formal training program that can help you develop the skills and knowledge employers seek. Whether you currently work in the healthcare field or wish to transition into this growing industry, nursing assistant education can help you establish a solid foundation that will enable you to compete for entry-level positions.

Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers a Nursing Assistant diploma program that is designed to help students acquire and leverage relevant skills. UMA’s nursing assistant training can be completed in as few as 12 weeks, and students may attend classes in Tampa or Clearwater, Florida.

This comprehensive nursing assistant program incorporates both classroom and laboratory settings, with courses such as:

  • Infection Control
  • Documentation, Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Nutrition and Hydration
  • Gerontology and Family Issues
  • Pet-Assisted Therapy

Safety and Efficiency in Patient Care and Restorative Therapy
UMA's nursing assistant training program features a hands-on externship that can enhance your value to prospective employers. You’ll have the opportunity to apply new skills and interact with patients in a local healthcare facility, giving you the experience that today’s healthcare organizations seek.

As a student in UMA's nursing assistant program, you will also prepare for the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) exam. Achieving the CNA designation may enhance your nursing assistant career opportunities.

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Develop New Healthcare Skills With Nursing Assistant Education

If you’re looking to begin a healthcare career as a nursing assistant, enrolling in UMA’s Nursing Assistant diploma program can be the first step. With opportunities to learn valuable technical skills and knowledge needed by healthcare employers, a nursing assistant education program can help you lay the foundation for a new career. When you complete UMA’s healthcare training, you can demonstrate your readiness for a career as a nursing assistant.

* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition. “Nursing and Psychiatric Aides.” <>

For information on student graduation rates, retention and placement rates, and student financial obligations, visit

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