Psychiatric Aide  What They Do

Just the Facts


Assists mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff.

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


A person in this career:

  • Records and maintains patient information, such as vital signs, eating habits, behavior, progress notes, treatments, or discharge plans.
  • Listens and provides emotional support and encouragement to psychiatric patients.
  • Completes physical checks and monitors patients to detect unusual or harmful behavior and reports observations to professional staff.
  • Restrains or aids patients as necessary to prevent injury.
  • Serves meals or feeds patients needing assistance or persuasion.
  • Works as part of a team that may include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, or social workers.
  • Cleans and disinfects rooms and furnishings to maintain a safe and orderly environment.
  • Provides mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients with routine physical, emotional, psychological, or rehabilitation care under the direction of nursing or medical staff.
  • Provides patients with assistance in bathing, dressing, or grooming, demonstrating these skills as necessary.
  • Maintains patients' restrictions to assigned areas.

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 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
  • 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 requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • 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):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Mental Health Specialist -- Performs an assessment of the patient's mental state and then may recommend a treatment or refer the patient to a psychiatrist who can also prescribe medicine.
  • Nursing Assistant -- Assists patients with daily living and fundamental tasks.