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Geriatric Nursing Assistants: Job Description and Requirements

Read on to see what geriatric nursing assistants do. Find out the education and training needed for employment, and get the details about job prospects to see if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for Geriatric Nursing Assistants

Geriatric nursing assistants, also known as geriatric aides, work directly to supply care to elderly patients. Geriatric nursing assistants often work in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, but they may also work in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, or in patients' homes. Typical duties of geriatric nursing assistants include dressing, bathing, and feeding patients, moving and repositioning bedridden patients, changing bed linens, taking temperature, pulse, and blood pressure, preparing and transporting patients, and recording care.

Education High school diploma or equivalent; possible required training
Job Duties Dress, bathe, and feed patients; monitor temperature, pulse, and blood pressure
Median Salary (2015)* $25,710 (all nursing assistants)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 18% (all nursing assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Generally, to become a geriatric nursing assistant, you'll at least need your high school diploma or GED equivalent. Specific training requirements vary by place of employment and state but often include a set number of training hours, supervised clinical care, and passing an examination. Work experience as a nurse's aide or other type of aide to the elderly will help prepare you for a career as a geriatric nursing assistant.

Skills Required

To work as a geriatric nursing assistant, you should be comfortable working with the elderly and acting as a caregiver. Patience, good interpersonal and communication skills, and an ability to be a team player will help you in your career as a geriatric nursing assistant.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for nursing assistants, including those with a geriatric focus, is good; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) projects employment in this field to grow by 18% from 2014-2024. Median annual wages for nursing assistants, including geriatric nursing assistants, were $25,710 in May 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Home Health Aide

A home health aide assists people with independent living tasks and does light health monitoring, like checking a client's pulse; home health aides may also offer hospice care. Duties may include helping clients dress or bathe or get to doctor's appointments. They may work for an agency. A high school diploma is typically required for employment; certification requirements vary. The BLS reports that jobs for home health aides are expected to increase by 38% from 2014 to 2024; the median salary for this career was $21,920 in 2015.

Licensed Practical Nurse

A licensed practical nurse provides hands-on care to patients, usually in nursing homes or hospitals, ranging from help with dressing or bathing to taking vital signs and changing bandages. Licensed practical nurses, also known as licensed vocational nurses, complete a 1-year certificate program to qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-PN. According to the BLS, jobs for licensed practical nurses are expected to increase by 16% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also reported that median pay for this job was $43,170 in 2015.


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