Nursing and Psychiatric Aides


  • This type of work is focused on helping people; you will be working with those who are either physically or mentally ill.
  • Job growth in this field is expected to be very good, and there will be many positions available.
  • There are minimal educational and work experience requirements to obtain a job in this field.


  • There can be stressful situations in this job, as the nature of the work is dealing with people who have medical problems.
  • You will be required to stand on your feet for a good part of the day, and you may need to physically assist some patients.
  • This work may require you to help people with personal needs. You must be able to handle these types of situations. .


Nursing and psychiatric aides spend their time caring for those who are ill and cannot take care of themselves. These patients may be injured, disabled or infirm. While a nursing aide generally is focused on taking care of the injured or sick, psychiatric aides spend their time working with those who have mental problems or disabilities that do not allow them the ability to live independently.
Both nursing and psychiatric aides perform a variety of duties on a day-to-day basis in order to give hands-on care to their patients. They will routinely check on patients by monitoring their vital stats. They also will help their patients to eat, bathe and groom. Many of them help to set up equipment and sometimes assist with simple procedures. Because patients spend a lot of time alone, many nursing and psychiatric assistants will spend time socializing with their patients, which has been found to help expedite the healing process for some.
Often times nursing and psychiatric aides have a great deal of influence over the treatment of their patients. This is usually because they spend so much time with them and have insight into their outlook on treatments. They usually are the first ones to recognize whether treatments or procedures are proving to be successful. While many are found in hospitals, there are other work environments where nursing and psychiatric aides can be found. These can include community health centers, home health organizations, long-term care facilities and physician’s offices.


One of the benefits of this career field is that one can enter it with minimal training and find out if the health care sector is the right fit for them. There are training programs that are offered for this occupation, and they are usually offered in vocational centers, private training programs or community colleges. However, quite often those interested in this type of work can gain employment simply by having a high school diploma. In this case, employees are trained for their duties while on the job.

Job Prospects

There are excellent prospects for nursing and psychiatric aides as job growth is expected to be very good in the future. With that being said, psychiatric aides are only a small subset of the number of workers in this field, and job growth is expected to be closer to average than when comparing the numbers altogether. Nonetheless, because of the aging population that translates into increasing needs for medical care, those who are looking for a job in this occupation should be able to find employment.

Advancement Opportunities

One of the drawbacks of working as a nursing or psychiatric aide is that there is little room for advancement. This can be attributed to the fact that many who work in this field do not have extensive training and/or education. This means that they do not have the skills to become further specialized and gain more responsibility without additional training. For those who enroll in continuing education programs there are a wide variety of opportunities, such as becoming a nurse’s assistant or even a registered nurse.