Nurses Aid Training Programs and Requirements

Nurse's aides, also called nursing assistants, hospital attendants, home health aides and certified nursing assistants, are state-licensed medical professionals who assist patients with routine daily activities under the supervision of a licensed nurse or other medical staff. Nurse's aides are the primary caregivers of patients in hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sometimes at the patient's home.

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Nurses Aide Training Requirements and Recommendations

Training courses for aspiring nurse's aides may be completed in conjunction with high school classes or following completion of a high school diploma. Programs are normally offered through vocational-technical schools, nursing care institutions or community colleges. Depending upon state requirements, a varying number of on-the-job hours are required to be eligible for employment in the field. Students usually must complete a CPR course prior to completion of the program. Bilingual students are often in high demand, particularly in urban areas.

Formal Education

Individuals interested in becoming a nurse's aide typically complete a 6-12 week state-approved nurse's aide training program at a community college, vocational center or medical facility. Graduates are prepared to fulfill all daily care requirements for an injured, infirm or elderly patient.

Nursing Assistant Certificate

Students enrolled in Nurses' Aide training programs study topics such as anatomy, infection control, nutrition, physiology and patient rights. They are taught to care for patients' daily nutritional, hygienic and medical needs. Specific skills include bathing, feeding, assisting with patient movement, medication administration and catheter care. Both didactic and practical training are incorporated into the curriculum. Graduates are prepared to complete a comprehensive examination administered by the state.

Job Experience

Nurse's aides are supervised by either licensed practical nurses or registered nurses. On-the-job training is usually part of a new hire orientation process at most facilities, and it may last from a few weeks to several months. Employees in nursing care facilities are required by the federal government to complete 75 hours of clinical training.

Licenses and Certifications

Licensing regulations for nurses' aides vary, but most states require graduates of nurse's aide training programs to pass an exam for certification. Those seeking employment in a nursing care facility are required per federal guidelines to complete 75-hours of on-the job training and a performance assessment. Upon successful completion, nurse's aides are placed on a state registry of certified nursing assistants. A varying number of continuing education hours are required each year in order to maintain certification.

Workshops and Seminars

The National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) sponsors an annual convention and other regional conferences for all types of nursing aides and assistants. Other workshops are provided by state-level associations for nursing assistants. Many training opportunities are provided through individual employers because policies and procedures vary widely between different types of care facilities.

Additional Professional Development

Often, a nurse's aide program is the first step towards higher nursing education, such as licensed practical nursing (LPN) and then registered nursing (RN). Additional education and training is required to progress further, but credit is often awarded for the initial training course. Nurse's aides may decide to focus in one specific area or job setting.

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