Nursing Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Nursing Assistants, or Healthcare Assistants, assist patients with their day-to-day care. Their duties include helping patients to bathe and get dressed, repositioning wheelchair- and bed-bound patients and accompanying patients for activities and appointments.

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Nursing Assistant duties and responsibilities

Nursing Assistant duties vary depending on their patients’ needs but typically include:

  • Taking patients’ vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure and reporting any changes to a supervisor
  • Supporting Registered Nurses with their duties by checking, sterilising and setting up equipment
  • Serving meals and helping feed patients
  • Assisting patients with performing basic tasks such as eating, dressing and going to the toliet when necessary 
  • Taking blood samples and submitting them for testing
  • Performing household duties such as changing sheets and cleaning

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What does a Nursing Assistant do?

Nursing Assistants take care of the personal care needs of their patients to improve their quality of life. They ensure that patients are comfortable and well cared for and perform a range of household tasks as well as personal grooming and healthcare duties. They may work in a facility, such as a care home, where they assist Registered Nurses and other healthcare staff. They may also visit people in their homes as part of a team of assistants that help their patients to live independently.

Nursing Assistant skills and qualifications

There are no specific qualifications required for Nursing Assistants, but candidates need good numeracy and literacy skills such as GCSEs in Maths and English or A-levels. A healthcare qualification such as an NVQ or BTEC typically gives a candidate an advantage as does an HNC. A successful Nursing Assistant candidate will have various prerequisite skills that make them suitable such as:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Abilities of observation
  • The ability to work well within a team
  • Computer skills including accurate data entry
  • Customer service skills
  • Excellent listening skills

Nursing Assistant experience requirements

Experience of healthcare is an asset to a Nursing Assistant candidate, but this can be in a voluntary capacity or a paid role. There is a range of suitable apprenticeships in health and social care or healthcare science that offer the chance to gain experience in the field through work placements. Any position where a candidate has developed customer service skills is a bonus.

Nursing Assistant education and training requirements

Nursing Assistants need to be numerate and literate, with GCSEs in Maths and English or equivalent, or A-levels. Candidates who have completed apprenticeships or higher education courses in Health and Social Care and have had hands-on experience and relevant training are also considered for this position. Certification from The Royal College of Nursing, The Nursing and Midwifery Council or other relevant accreditation body is also helpful.


Nursing Assistant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Nursing Assistant is £19,190 per year depending on the setting in which they work and their level of experience.


Job description samples for similar positions

If you are recruiting for healthcare workers, but a Nursing Assistant isn’t quite what you are looking for, then these similar job description samples may help you:

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Nursing Assistant FAQs

What are the different types of Nursing Assistant?

Nursing Assistants work in primary care settings, such as hospitals, doctor’s surgeries or clinics. They offer assistance with personal care such as eating, washing and dressing as well as performing medical checks and procedures under the supervision of a Nurse or other healthcare professional. They can also work in social care settings such as nursing homes, hospices or in patients’ own homes, where they carry out domestic tasks as well as personal care and report to a Senior Carer or Supervisor. They typically work with a team to help maintain their patients’ independence,

What qualities make a good Nursing Assistant?

Nursing Assistants need to be caring and compassionate. They often work with patients who have significant care needs, so it’s important that they make their patients feel safe and comfortable. Nursing Assistants are on the front line of healthcare, so they must be observant and have excellent communication skills when dealing with patients and their colleagues. They also need to be calm under pressure and flexible enough to deal with a variety of tasks and a quickly changing schedule.

Who does a Nursing Assistant report to?

The reporting structure for Nursing Assistants varies depending on the setting in which they work. In a GP surgery, they may report to the Practice Nurse or Nurse Manager, but in a hospital they report to the Ward Manager, Matron or Nurse Manager. Nursing Assistants working in a care home report to the Care Home Manager or Nurse Manager.

What should you look for in a Nursing Assistant CV?

Nursing Assistant candidates need to be able to demonstrate a commitment to caring for their patients and the ability to learn and implement processes quickly. Clear details about the skills required in their previous roles will help you to match relevant experience with your requirements. Evidence of good people skills and an open-minded approach to care are also bonuses for potential Nursing Assistants.

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