If you enjoy helping people who are ill, old, or frail, a job as a nurse's aide might be extremely satisfying. Nurse's aides--also known as nursing assistants--are the "angels" who care directly for hospital patients and nursing care facility residents, helping them eat, dress, bathe, and keep their rooms tidy. Some nurse's aides even check patients' temperature, pulse, respiration rate, and blood pressure. And doctors and nurses rely heavily on updated patient information from nurse's aides.
Being a nurse's aide may be your dream job--or the first step toward vocational nursing or even becoming a registered nurse (RN).
Like all nursing fields, this one is growing rapidly. In 2006, there were about 1.4 million nursing aide jobs, slightly more than half were in nursing and residential care facilities, and 29 percent were in hospitals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects significant growth between 2006 and 2016 and nurse's aides earned median hourly wages of $11.84 in 2008.
Wherever you live, a school near you offers everything from diplomas to master's degrees in nursing. And becoming a nurse's aide is a satisfying place to start a career in this fast-growing field.