Field of Study: Nursing Assisting
Nursing assisting programs prepare people to give routine nursing care to patients. Students learn first aid and basic patient care. They often train and work under the direction of nurses.
When you think about medical caregivers, you often think of doctors and nurses. It's true that they are usually the people you encounter when you go for a checkup. However, for many patients – especially those with chronic health conditions - nursing assistants are the caregivers they have the most contact with. Nursing assistants are often the ones to help patients with everyday yet important things, such as bathing, changing dressings, and eating.
Nursing assistants also perform tasks such as measuring a patient's blood pressure and heartbeat, and helping patients take their medication. Regardless of their tasks, nursing assistants play an important role in treating patients and making sure they are comfortable and treated well.
In nursing assistant programs, you take courses in assessing and recording patient symptoms, basic medications, personal care, and introductory nursing skills. You also learn about patient rights and basic human anatomy.
Nursing assistant programs are offered at many community colleges, hospitals, vocational centers, health agencies, and occasionally through high schools. They typically take from two to five weeks to complete.
Most graduates from nursing assistant programs work in hospitals, nursing homes, or long-term care facilities.