Field of Study: Health Aide
Health aide programs prepare people to give routine medical care and comfort to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes. Students learn first aid and how to bathe and feed patients. They learn to change linens, give medicines, and keep records. They also learn to observe patients and report changes to nurses or doctors.
If you've ever lain in bed with a cold or the flu and had someone look after you, you can probably remember how much better that made you feel. Maybe someone brought you chicken soup on a tray, or came in to take your temperature, or fluffed your pillows. With their knowledge of basic medical care, health aides give their patients that same level of comfort.
Health aides can work in many different settings, in addition to hospitals. In order to provide routine medical care, you have to learn a variety of skills. For example, you need to know how to take vital signs, prevent infection, and give exact amounts of medicine. For the times that you're in patients' homes, you need to know how to keep things tidy, and may even be required to take care of a child. You also need to learn to be very observant and to work under the supervision of nurses and physicians.
Different kinds of schools offer health aide training programs: community colleges, private institutes, hospitals, and vocational schools. Many of them offer the program as a follow-up to nurse's aide training. However, there are a few that offer health aide training exclusively. You can earn either a diploma or a certificate by studying at one of these schools. The length of each program varies but generally takes between three to five months of full-time study after high school.