Geriatric Nursing Assistant: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Geriatric nursing assistants are allied health professionals who specialize in helping the elderly with health and hygiene tasks. Find out about the education and training you'll need to work in this field, as well as job growth and salary information. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Geriatric Nursing Assistant Defined

As a geriatric nursing assistant or aide, you work directly with elderly patients to ensure their comfort and well-being. Geriatric nursing assistants help bathe, dress, undress, feed, and transport patients. You may also prepare patients for surgery, clean and organizer patients' rooms and change bed linens. Some employers may ask you to take patient's blood pressure and temperature, as well as provide any other care directed under the supervision of geriatric nurses and doctors. You might also assist nurses and doctors with treatments and surgeries.

What Is My Career Outlook?

Geriatric nursing assistants support the efforts of certified nurses in hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and special care units. You might also find employment in the homes of patients via a home nursing service. Geriatric nursing assistants can expect to see increasing job opportunities as the population ages and health facilities require additional support in providing care to their elderly patients. Additionally, more geriatric patients are residing in long-term care facilities in an effort for hospitals to spend less money.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that career opportunities for nursing assistants were expected to grow nearly 18% between the years of 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). In May 2010, BLS salary data reported that the middle half of nursing aides earned between $20,600 and $29,070. Many nursing aides work a variety of hours, since care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities must be available 24 hours per day.

What Education Do I Need?

To pursue a career as a geriatric nursing assistant, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and you must acquire the necessary state certifications. To work in a nursing care facility, you must meet federal requirements, which include completion of a training program that provides a minimum of 75 hours of instruction. In these programs, you learn about patient communication skills, infection control, hygiene, nutrition, death and dying. Even if you attend a training program, you may obtain most of your training and education while on the job.

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