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How to become a Certified Nursing Assistant

by Chloe Baird
Posted: November 29, 2020

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Nursing is the most trusted profession in the country. Even before the world was rocked by a global pandemic, the importance of Nurses and other healthcare professionals in our society has never been in doubt. 

The healthcare industry in Australia is growing at a steady rate. This means there are plenty of opportunities for qualified, skilled professionals out there who are looking to follow a rewarding career. 

If you’re interested in beginning a career in the healthcare industry, then becoming a Nursing Assistant is a great place to start.

What is the job description for a Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant, also sometimes referred to as an Assistant in Nursing or a Nursing Aide, plays a pivotal role in providing support to Enrolled Nurses and Registered Nurses. This is a great role for those who are looking to begin a career in healthcare.

A Nursing Assistant provides care to patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. They work directly under the supervision of a Registered Nurse. 

A day in the life of a Nursing Assistant will be varied and busy. Depending on the patient’s needs, there could be a range of different tasks to perform—from checking a patient’s vital signs to helping them eat and drink. 

Aside from providing care to patients, Nursing Assistants also provide support to Enrolled Nurses and Registered Nurses by monitoring patients’ vital signs, reporting patient observations and performing various basic administrative tasks.  

Here are some of the duties of a Nursing Assistant:

  • Moving or repositioning patients
  • Assisting patients with prescribed exercises
  • Helping patients to shower and brush their teeth
  • Helping patients use the bathroom
  • Changing patients’ bedding
  • Helping patients dress
  • Serving meals and helping patients eat
  • Measuring patients’ vital signs (such as temperature and blood pressure)
  • Completing paperwork and making sure patient documentation is up to date
  • Noting any concerns a patient has and then relaying that information to a Nurse or Doctor

Nurse with Patient

How can I become a Nursing Assistant?

You need to be qualified to become a Nursing Assistant. You’ll need to study a VET course if you’re looking to get into this career, and the minimum qualification you need to become a Nursing Assistant is a Certificate III in Health Assistance

Aside from this, you also need to have the right kind of personality to follow a career in healthcare. Strong communication skills, attention to detail, and a compassionate nature are all key traits you need to have to work as a Nursing Assistant. 

6 Key skills needed to be a Nursing Assistant:

1. Good organisational and time management skills

Most workdays will be busy, and you’ll be attending to multiple patients. You need to make sure that your schedule is well organised. Otherwise, you may find yourself rushing between tasks, which means you won’t be 100% focused on the job at hand and you could miss something important.

2. Flexibility

Things might not always go according to plan during your workday. So you need to be adaptable and work well under pressure when a situation changes. Working in healthcare also means you’ll more than likely be working a range of different shifts.  

3. Strong communication skills

You’ll be working under the supervision of other healthcare staff and supporting Nurses, so you’ll need to be able to listen to instructions and follow them to the letter. And if there’s something you need to notify another member of staff about, you need to ensure that you give them information that is correct and accurate.

4. Compassion and empathy

Working with people who are sick or injured can be hard at times. You need to be strong enough to cope with emotionally challenging situations and to also provide the comfort and support your patients need during what can be a scary and difficult time for them.

5. Patience

You need to have patience with your patients. Occasionally, you’ll have patients who are frustrated and aggravated by their condition, and this can make them difficult to deal with. They might take their frustration out on you, even if there’s nothing you can do to speed the healing process up. When you’re dealing with a difficult patient, it’s important to remain calm and remember that your job is to help people, even if they’re not always outwardly thankful for your support and your care.

6. Physical fitness

As a Nursing Assistant, you’ll be on your feet for most of the day. You might also need to lift or move patients, so it’s important that you have a reasonable level of physical fitness. 

What’s the difference between a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Registered Nurse?

Many jobs in the healthcare industry require a qualification. The difference between a Nursing Assistant, an Enrolled Nurse and a Registered Nurse lies in the qualification you need and the duties they perform.

To become a Certified Nursing Assistant, the minimum certification required is a Certificate III in Health Assistance. Studying a Certificate III and finding work as a Nursing Assistant is a great way to begin your career in the healthcare industry. If you’re thinking of moving into another position in the future, such as Enrolled Nurse, then starting as a Nursing Assistant will provide you invaluable experience, and will allow you to see first-hand how healthcare teams interact with one another. This will also help to give you an idea of the different career paths you might want to follow in healthcare.

An Enrolled Nurse has more duties than a Nursing Assistant. To become an Enrolled Nurse, you need to complete a Diploma of Nursing. Similar to a Nursing Assistant, they will work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse and will provide care to patients. However, they will also be expected to administer medication to patients, educate patients on healthy living choices, plan and implement nursing care and help with emergencies when they arise.

To become a Registered Nurse, you need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing. If you’re thinking of becoming a Registered Nurse, then studying a Diploma of Nursing can act as a pathway to university

Nurse Treating Patient

Is Nursing Assistant a good career choice?

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry in Australia is booming, and qualified workers with the right skills are in high demand. 

Joining the healthcare industry at such a critical time means that you’ll be pursuing a career that is stable and allows room for growth. 

A Nursing Assistant’s salary is around $1,200 per week according to the government’s Job Outlook website. This amount will change as you progress through your career, and depending on what specialisation (if any) you choose to develop. 

Where can I study to become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

You can study online to become a Certified Nursing Assistant with Open Colleges.

Our HLT33115 Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (Assistant in nursing work in acute care) online course will teach you the skills and knowledge you need to launch a rewarding career in the growing healthcare industry.

As this is an online course, you’ll have the flexibility and freedom to study at your own pace. 

This course also includes 120 hours of work placement, providing you with invaluable hands-on experience before you start applying for jobs. 

What are you waiting for? Discover where a career in healthcare could take you and start a 7 day free course trial online today. 

 

Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (Assistant in nursing work in acute care)

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