Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides

Last updated January 01, 2015

Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides are often the first and last person patients see in the course of the day. Their caregiving responsibilities range from bathing patients to taking their temperature to leading a group card game. 

If you are interested in the many virtues of nursing but not in the time it takes to get there, a nursing aide position may be right for you. And if you are thinking of becoming a registered nurse, a nursing aide job may help you decide if you want to continue your education and training.

Nursing and psychiatric aides help staff nurses in hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities care for the physically and mentally ill. Home health aides give similar care in private homes or other residential care settings, such as nursing homes.

Did You Know?

Socializing with patients is a big part of working as a psychiatric aide.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Serve meals
  • Change dressings
  • Make beds
  • Give massages
  • Accompany patients on field trips
  • Help moody and sometimes mentally and physically unstable patients
  • Work for more than a year with just one patient or sometimes work many patients at once
  • Work odd hours including nights and weekends

It Helps To Be...

Patient, dependable, and motivated to help people who cannot help themselves. It is also very important that you respect your patients and their privacy.

Make High School Count

  • Take plenty of math and science courses.
  • Enhance your communications skills in English, drama, and speech classes.
  • Study a foreign language so you’ll be able to reach out and communicate with a wide range of patients.
  • Volunteer to work at a health clinic, a hospital, a women’s clinic, or an eldercare facility.

Did You Know?

Because psychiatric aides have such close contact with patients, they may have a great deal of influence on their patients’ mood.