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Nursing, Psychiatric Assistants and Home Health Aides Career and Jobs Information

Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides Career and Job Highlights

  • Nursing and residential care facilities, hospitals, and home healthcare services provide most of the positions for nursing, psychiatric and home health aides.
  • Characteristics of these jobs include: modest entry requirements, little pay, high physical and emotional demands, and few of promotion opportunities.
  • Several employment opportunities as well as job openings are estimated.

Nursing, Psychiatric Assistant and Home Health Aide Career Overview

Nursing and psychiatric aides help to care for physically or mentally ill, injured, disabled, or sick patients restrained to hospitals, nursing care facilities, and mental health sites. Home health aides’ responsibilities are comparable; however, their work requires them to work in patients’ homes or residential care facilities.

Nursing aides are also identified as nursing assistants, geriatric aides, unlicensed assistive personnel, or hospital attendants. They carry out regular tasks as directed by the medical or nursing personnel. Their tasks include: answering to patients’ call lights, delivering messages, serving food, making beds, and assisting patients in eating, dressing, and bathing. Additional duties of aides may be to offer skin care to patients; to obtain vitals such as getting their temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure; and to aid patients in walking as well as getting in and out of bed. They also may guide patients to the operating and examining rooms, maintain cleanliness of patients’ rooms, prepare equipment, store and transfer supplies, or assist with various procedures. Aides monitor patients’ physical, mental, and emotional conditions and report to the staff any change in a patients’ condition.
When nursing aides are employed in centers providing nursing care, they often are the primary caregivers and spend more time with residents than do other members of the staff. Aides cultivate positive relationships with the patients who remain there for months or even years and work together with them in an encouraging, kind manner.

Home health aides assist older-aged, convalescent, or disabled people who live at home as opposed to living in a health center. Supervised by the nursing or medical staff, they administer oral medications and other health care procedures. Home health aides, along with nursing aides, may monitor patients’ pulse rates, temperatures, and respiration rates; assist with basic recommended exercises; maintain cleanliness of patients’ rooms; help patients with grooming activities; and assist patients in getting in and out of bed. Once in a while, they may provide additional services which include: changing non-sterile dressings, giving massages and alcohol rubs, or helping with artificial limbs and supportive gear. Practiced and experienced home health aides may also help with equipment, such as ventilators—a machine enhancing respiration.

For those who are far too disabled or old for relatives or friends to take care of, home health aides can provide this further care. Some may be temporary aides to those recently released from the hospital.

In home health organizations, a registered nurse, physical therapist, or social worker typically delegates certain duties to home health aides and supervises them as they keep track of their duties and record the condition and progression on the patient. The changes in the patient are reported to the case manager or supervisor.

Psychiatric aides can also be called mental health assistants or psychiatric nursing assistants. They care for mentally challenged or emotionally distressed people. They are directed by other doctors on a team including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, and therapists.

Psychiatric aides communicate with the patients as friends and supervise them in enlightening and recreational activities; they also help them with grooming, personal hygiene, and eating. Patients like activities such as playing cards, watching television, sport-related events, or fieldtrips. Psychiatric aides monitor and report to the staff any significant changes in the patients’ physical or behavioral health. When patients go to get treatment or exams, the aides will escort them. Psychiatric aides spend so much time with patients that they can actually be influential on the success of a patient’s treatment and attitude.

Nursing, Psychiatric Assistants and Home Health Aide Training and Job Qualifications

Usually no prior work experience or high school diploma may be necessary for becoming a nursing, psychiatric or home health aide. However some training may be mandatory for some employers. For example, a few hospitals may call for previous experience for nursing or home health aides. Inexperienced workers can get jobs at nursing care facilities where, within 4 months of working, they require the employee to complete 75 hours of training and excel in a competency assessment. After completion of the program, aides become certified and registered as a nursing aide for the state. Psychiatric nurses may have to go through formal training for some states.

The Federal Government has guiding principles for employers of home health aides getting reimbursed from Medicare. Federal law imposes home health aides to pass an exam of competency encompassing 12 areas: communication ability; documentation of patient condition and provided care; reading and documenting vital signs; fundamental infection control procedures; simple understanding of physiology ; preservation of a healthy setting; emergency procedures; physical, emotional, and developmental characteristics of patients; personal hygiene and grooming; secure transfer procedures; normal range of motion and situating; and background of simple nutrition knowledge.

Prior to taking a competency exam, a home health aide may receive instruction. Federal law recommends, at the minimum, 75 hours of in-class as well as practical training under the direction of a registered nurse. Instruction programs that provide testing may be accessible by the employing agency. However, this agency must pass the standards set by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. According to differing state laws, training programs will fluctuate.

National certification for home health aides is available through the National Association for Home Care. The individual must voluntarily demonstrate that he/she has met the regulations set by this health industry.

Nursing aide training is obtainable through a variety of ways: high schools, vocational-technical facilities, various nursing care facilities, and a few community colleges. Course material includes: body functions, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, handling infection, communication abilities, and patients’ rights. Personal hygiene is also taught, such as helping patients bathe, eat, and groom.

A number of employers other than nursing care facilities offer in-class education for newly hired aides. Others depend completely on comfortable on-the-job training from a licensed nurse or well-experienced aide. This instruction may last for numerous days to a minimal amount of months. Sometimes aides additionally may go to lectures, workshops, and in-service training.

These occupations can offer people admission into the workforce. It may be convenient for high school and college students as it allows them flexible hours at night and on the weekend.

Some characteristics of those looking at this occupation include: tact, patience, consideration, emotionally stability, and reliability and a desire to serve those in need. They must also have cooperation and communication skills, and must perform repetitive tasks. They must also have integrity and confidentiality as they work in many patients’ homes. It is necessary that aides be in good health. It may be required to have some health tests performed by the state, such as a TB test.

There are only limited promotions within this field. Additional training through a school is needed for aides to advance to other positions in the health field. Unions and those looking to hire may simplify the road to further education advancement. Being an aide may be beneficial to those deciding whether to pursue a career in the medical field.

Nursing, Psychiatric Assistant and Home Health Aide Job and Employment Opportunities

As a result of rapid employment expansion and high replacement need, several job openings for nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides will arise. Such needs for replacement in this large occupation mirror modest entry requirements, minimal pay, high physical and emotional demands, and very few opportunities for promotion. Because of these reasons, people are not enticed to choose this occupation and the work it entails. Therefore, those who are interested and have the capabilities to perform well in this job should have a variety of opportunities.

Overall employment of nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012; however, individual expansion rates will differ. Out of the three, the job of home health aides is expected to grow fastest because of both increasing demand for home healthcare services to compensate for an aging society and efforts to control healthcare costs by discharging patients from hospitals and health care centers quickly. A consumer’s first choice is to use newly devised technology for home health care and treatments which promotes faster-than-average employment expansion for home health aides.

Because nursing aides are more densely distributed in slower expanding facilities, this occupation will not grow as rapidly as home health aides. Still this occupation is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations because of the prolonged health care needed by the aging population and a more focused view on rehabilitation. Monetary obligations on hospitals to release patients quickly should create more admissions to nursing care facilities. Modern medical technology also will increase the job openings for nursing aides. This is because technology prolongs the lives of patients and requires nurses to give longer care to them.

Employment of psychiatric aides, which is the smallest among the three occupations, is projected to expand about as quickly as all the occupations’ averages. The number of jobs for psychiatric aides in hospitals (who employ about half of psychiatric aides) will grow slower than the average because to efforts to control finances by restricting inpatient psychiatric treatment. However, employment in differing areas will increase as a result of the number of elderly—many of whom will need assistance from mental health services, promoting acceptance of programs that help substance abuse victims, and decreasing stigma associated with those receiving mental health care.