Salary and Benefits

August 27, 2009

A wealth of opportunities awaits nurse's aides, who provide hands-on patient care

Pay: The average wage in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area is $13.20 an hour, or $27,450 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The middle 50 percent earns between $23,420 and $31,010.

The Job: Nursing aides help care for the sick, injured and disabled in hospitals, nursing care facilities and mental health settings. They provide hands-on care and perform routine tasks under the supervision of medical staff. They often help patients eat, dress and bathe, plus empty bedpans and change bed linens.

Demand: Excellent job opportunities will arise from a combination of rapid employment growth and the need to replace the many workers who leave each year.

Need to know: Aides spend many hours standing and walking, and they must guard against back injury if they move patients into and out of bed or help them stand or walk. For some individuals, even high school students, this can be an entry-level job in which to gain experience while studying for other health care positions.

Training: Training is offered in high schools, vocational-technical centers, community colleges and some nursing care facilities. Some employers provide classroom instruction for new hires. Aides who work in nursing care facilities must complete a minimum of 75 hours of state-approved training and pass a competency evaluation. They are known as certified nurse assistants (CNAs) and are placed on the state registry of nurse aides.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

This article was originally published in August 2008.

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