Monday, May 30, 2011

Clearing Up Misconceptions Regarding Nursing Assistants: Balancing a Family and a Career

A Guest Post from Pamelia Brown...

Clearing Up Misconceptions Regarding Nursing Assistants: Balancing a Family and a Career

If you currently have a family or kids on the way, a job as a full time nurse may be more demanding than you think. Many people believe nursing assistants are women or men who are solely incapable of becoming RNs, This is a very inaccurate generalization. A job as a nursing assistant can be fast-paced and fulfilling. Additionally, nursing assistants can usually work less demanding hours than full-time RNS. This is one of the main reasons people choose this career path, not due to their incompetency in any sense. As a mother of three, I have found this career choice to be the perfect fit for me. I am still in touch with the field of medicine, and my job allows me to help people with everyday tasks. However, I still have time to attend my son's basketball games or my daughter's ballet performance. Below, I would like to clear up three common misconceptions I hear regularly (regarding the career of a nursing assistant).

Nursing Assistants Have No Formal Training in the Medical Field
A common misconception regarding nursing assistants: they have no training in the medical field. This is an unfair, inaccurate assumption. In addition to obtaining a high school degree or GED, prospective assistant nurses must also enroll in a 6-12 week certification program. Most certification programs require nursing assistant students to take courses in subject such as: anatomy, physiology, nutrition, infections, safety control, and bedside nursing skills. Additionally, nursing assistants must pass a certification exam after they finish their respective programs.

Nursing Assistants Get Paid Hourly
This is another misconception that bothers me. Many nursing assistants are hired full time, and they get paid salaries in addition to qualifying for benefits! According to most career websites, the average salary for a nursing assistant is $21,000. Although $21,000 may not be enough for a whole family, it can still be substantial additional income for a family of 5!

Nursing Assistants Solely Engage in Housekeeping Tasks
Although nursing assistants do have to take care of some mundane housekeeping tasks, they definitely engage in medical related work too! Nursing assistants often have to brief nurses or even doctors about the condition of certain patients, and with additional training set up x-ray machines, and draw blood when necessary. After a few years of experience and training, nursing assistants may become more involved in other more important tasks. After all, everyone has to start at the bottom of the food chain to some extent. You have to prove your competence and work your way up!

This guest contribution was submitted by Pamelia Brown, who specializes in writing about associates degree. Questions and comments can be sent to: pamelia.brown @