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Hospital Aide: Job Description and Education Requirements

As entry-level positions in the healthcare industry, hospital aides perform a variety of duties under the supervision of nursing staff. Their responsibilities can range from changing bed linens to updating patient records. Some hospital aide positions may require formal education, while others provide on-the-job training.

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Job Description for Hospital Aides

Hospital aides are healthcare paraprofessionals, such as nurse's aides and hospital attendants, working in the hospital environment under the supervision of licensed nurses. They complete numerous non-medical tasks for patients, including serving meals and cleaning rooms. Hospital aides are also sometimes allowed to take the blood pressure and temperature of patients. Although they most often help with procedures that bring them into direct contact with patients, hospital aides also transport supplies and update patient records.

Salary and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported in 2012 that the median annual salary for hospital aides working as nursing aides, orderlies and attendants was $24,190. Employment in this area was in demand and expected to grow 20% between 2010 and 2020.

Educational Requirements and Training

The primary educational requirement for hospital aides is a high school diploma or equivalency. A hospital aide may pursue training to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), also called a certified nurses' aide. The government requires this designation for hospital aides working in nursing care facilities. A CNA must undergo a minimum of 75 hours of training, pass a certification test and register with the appropriate state's nurses' aide registry. State requirements vary, so hospital aides may want to check the certification requirements for the state they want to work in.

Formal training may not always be required, since employers commonly hire and train inexperienced applicants. Hospital aides who will have significant direct contact with patients, however, usually have previous experience.

Hospital aides need to be physically fit. These positions sometimes require aides to help lift or support the weight of patients. For this reason, some employers require applicants to be able to lift a minimum number of pounds.

Additional Skills

This job requires an ability to follow directions, an attention to detail and excellent communication skills. The licensed medical professionals supervising hospital aides often expect them to carry out their tasks independently.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics