Education and training requirements for Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide
In many cases, neither a high school diploma nor previous work experience is necessary for a job as a nursing, psychiatric, or home health aide. A few employers, however, require some training or experience. Hospitals may require experience as a nursing aide or home health aide. Nursing care facilities often hire inexperienced workers who must complete a minimum of 75 hours of mandatory training and pass a competency evaluation program within 4 months of their employment. Aides who complete the program are certified and placed on the State registry of nursing aides. Some States require psychiatric aides to complete a formal training program.
The Federal Government has guidelines for home health aides whose employers receive reimbursement from Medicare. Federal law requires home health aides to pass a competency test covering 12 areas: Communication skills; documentation of patient status and care provided; reading and recording vital signs; basic infection control procedures; basic body functions; maintenance of a healthy environment; emergency procedures; physical, emotional, and developmental characteristics of patients; personal hygiene and grooming; safe transfer techniques; normal range of motion and positioning; and basic nutrition.
A home health aide may receive training before taking the competency test. Federal law suggests at least 75 hours of classroom and practical training, supervised by a registered nurse. Training and testing programs may be offered by the employing agency, but must meet the standards of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Training programs vary with State regulations.
The National Association for Home Care offers national certification for home health aides. The certification is a voluntary demonstration that the individual has met industry standards.
Nursing aide training is offered in high schools, vocational-technical centers, some nursing care facilities, and some community colleges. Courses cover body mechanics, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, infection control, communication skills, and resident rights. Personal care skills, such as how to help patients bathe, eat, and groom, also are taught.
Some employers other than nursing care facilities provide classroom instruction for newly hired aides, while others rely exclusively on informal on-the-job instruction from a licensed nurse or an experienced aide. Such training may last several days to a few months. From time to time, aides also may attend lectures, workshops, and inservice training.
These occupations can offer individuals an entry into the world of work. The flexibility of night and weekend hours also provides high school and college students a chance to work during the school year.
Applicants should be tactful, patient, understanding, emotionally stable, and dependable and should have a desire to help people. They also should be able to work as part of a team, have good communication skills, and be willing to perform repetitive, routine tasks. Home health aides should be honest and discreet, because they work in private homes.
Aides must be in good health. A physical examination, including State-regulated tests such as those for tuberculosis, may be required.
Opportunities for advancement within these occupations are limited. To enter other health occupations, aides generally need additional formal training. Some employers and unions provide opportunities by simplifying the educational paths to advancement. Experience as an aide also can help individuals decide whether to pursue a career in the health-care field.
More information on Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide from The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
Overview of Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide occupation
Number of Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide in the U.S.
Salary and earnings for Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide
Working conditions for Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide
Significant points for Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide
Training requirements for Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide
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