Nursing Aides, Orderlies & Attendants


  • You will be working to assist with people who have medical problems alongside other medical professionals.
  • There are expected to be many job openings in this occupation and as such there will be many opportunities available.
  • The ability to work part-time in this type of job is an option for some.


  • There are unpleasant duties that are involved in this job. You must be able to handle these type of situations.
  • The work can be physically demanding; it is possible that some duties required could include having to physically move patients who are unable to on their own.
  • Medical care facilities are usually twenty-four hour a day operations, so this type of work would require hours that are at night, on weekends and other odd hours.


Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants work under the supervision of nursing and medical staff to provide hands-on care for patients as well as perform routine tasks. Some aides help other medical staff by setting up equipment, storing and moving supplies as well as assisting with some procedures. Aides also observe patients’ physical, mental and emotional conditions and report any changes to the medical staff.

Specific tasks that nursing aides, orderlies and attendant perform can vary, with the work focusing on handling many aspects of a patient’s care. They often help patients to do basic tasks such as eat, bathe, dress and groom. They also answer calls for help, deliver messages, serve meals and perform housekeeping work such as tidying up rooms. Aides sometimes can have duties to in terms of vital care such as taking a patient’s temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate or blood pressure. They will then record this information for other health professionals to review. Because of this, attention to detail is very important.

Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants are generally employed in nursing care facilities. They can also be found in hospitals and private clinics. These workers are often the principal caregivers and have more contact with residents than other staff. Because some residents may stay in a long term care environment for years, aides usually develop caring relationships with their patients.


Training for this field of work is done in vocational centers, private centers and in community colleges. Much of the coursework is teaching students medical terminaology and anatomy. With that being said, many aides do not have formal training, and many employers prefer to offer on the job training in proper techniques. Continuing education is usually a requirement, and workers in this field can expect to take courses and seminars on the latest best practices.

Job Prospects

There are expected to be many job openings in the future for this type of work. With the trend of an aging population, more medical care will be needed for these people as they will develop health issues and cannot live independently as they once were able to. As a result health professions such as this will see growth and obtaining work in this occupation should not be difficult.

Advancement Opportunities

There are limited opportunities for advancement in this career. This can be attributed to the fact that many who work in this field have very little training. However, low barriers of entry allow those who enter this type of work can easily make a determination if the health care field is something they want to do long term. As a result, it is not uncommon to see those who start as nursing aides, orderlies and attendants obtain education to become registered nurse or other more specialized health care occupations.