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Yukon WorkFutures

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates

NOC 3413 / RANK 31

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What They Do

Under the direction of nurses, hospital staff and physicians, resident care aides (also known as nurse aides and orderlies) assist in the basic care of residents. They are employed in hospitals, long-term care facilities, group homes, home support and community care.

A Day in the Life

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Listen to A Day in the Life

Main Duties

Nursing aides, orderlies and patient service associates perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Answer call signals, supply and empty bed pans, take basic vitals, collect specimens for sampling and perform basic personal care under the direction of a nurse
  • Observe and monitor patient status and report changes to supervisor
  • Provide assistance in patients' daily activities such as bathing, dressing,grooming and eating
  • Lift and move physically challenged patients with specialized equipment
  • Transport patients in wheelchairs or stretchers, and carry messages, reports, requisitions and specimens from one department to another
  • Supervise patients' therapy and exercise routines
  • Make beds, maintain patients' rooms, monitor inventory of supplies, and perform other maintenance tasks such as cleaning or sterilizing equipment and maintaining and repairing equipment
  • May perform clerical work
  • May assist with medevacs

With additional training, nursing assistants may become operating room technicians, who perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Help set up the operating room and assist surgical teams with gowns and gloves
  • Prepare patients for surgery by washing, shaving and sterilizing their operative areas
  • Assist in surgery by passing instruments and supplies to surgeons, operating diagnostic equipment, and counting supplies and instruments
  • Observe patients' vital signs and check charts
  • Prepare and label specimens for laboratory analysis and may help apply dressings
  • Transport and position patients in the operating room and transfer patients to the recovery rooms
  • Clean, sterilize and restock the operating room

Working Conditions

Resident care aides work in hospital wards or residential long-term care facilities. Shifts are usually 8 to 12 hours in length, and full-time employees work 36 to 40 hours per week, often through weekends, holidays or evenings. On-call and part-time work is common.

The work of resident care aides can be physically demanding. Constant standing, walking and lifting can cause back and neck injuries. New health standards that require health-care workers to use patient lifts (hoists) have significantly reduced the incidence of worksite injury.

How Do I Get There

Health care assistants generally need Grade 12, and completion of a resident care attendant program is recommended. Health care assistants need physical stamina. They must patient, caring, understanding, emotionally stable and dependable. They should be able to work as part of a team and be willing to perform repetitive, routine tasks.

Yukon College's Health Care Assistant certificate program prepares students for work in any level of continuing care, including home support, adult daycare, assisted living and complex care. Admission requirements include standard first aid, FoodSafe certification, medical clearance and a criminal record check. Yukon College also offers a practical nurse diploma program. Those wishing to work in an acute care setting may require an acute care certificate in addition to their post-basic training.