Nursing Assistant  What They Do

Just the Facts


Nursing Assistants Career Video



Provides basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Performs duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom, or move patients, or change linens. May transfer or transport patients.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Answers patient call signals, signal lights, bells, or intercom systems to determine patients' needs.
  • Turns or repositions bedridden patients.
  • Provides physical support to assist patients to perform daily living activities, such as getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, standing, walking, or exercising.
  • Reviews patients' dietary restrictions, food allergies, and preferences to ensure patient receives appropriate diet.
  • Measures and records food and liquid intake or urinary and fecal output, reporting changes to medical or nursing staff.
  • Records vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, or respiration rate, as directed by medical or nursing staff.
  • Gathers information from caregivers, nurses, or physicians about patient condition, treatment plans, or appropriate activities.
  • Observes or examines patients to detect symptoms that may require medical attention, such as bruises, open wounds, or blood in urine.
  • Documents or otherwise reports observations of patient behavior, complaints, or physical symptoms to nurses.
  • Reminds patients to take medications or nutritional supplements.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves keeping or regaining your balance more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Certified Medication Aide (CMA) --
  • Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) --
  • Certified Nurses Aide (CNA) --
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) --
  • Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) --
  • Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) --
  • Nurses' Aide --
  • Nursing Aide --
  • State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) --