Nurse technicians provide direct patient care under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians. While nurses and physicians focus on writing and implementing treatment plans, nursing technicians assist patients with activities of daily living.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse technicians assist patients in all activities of daily living including bathing, toileting, feeding and dressing. Ambulation assistance is also provided by nurse technicians. Nurse technicians assist physicians in examining patients and routinely check and record vital signs. They also assist registered nurses in administering some treatments. Nurse technicians change bed linens and ensure that the beds and wheelchairs are clean.
Nurse technicians work in a variety of settings. Settings include hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and home health care. In long-term care facilities, nurse technicians assume the majority of daily patient care and interact more frequently with patients than any other member of the care team. In the hospital setting, nurse technicians support nursing and physician staff and share completion of daily treatments and duties. Clinics are staffed mainly by nurse technicians specializing in psychiatric treatment. Home health agencies place nurse technicians with clients who wish to remain independent with some support.
Nurse technicians must be in good health. Similarly, they must possess a service-minded attitude and exhibit caring and compassion towards others. Patience and familiarity with medical practices are also important. As the job is physically and emotionally demanding, nurse technicians must have a strong work ethic.
Nurse technicians who work in hospitals and long-term care facilities are required to be certified. In the U.S., certification requires a 75-hour training course and successful completion of the competency exam. Training programs are often offered in vocational settings in high schools or proprietary educational settings. Similarly, hospitals and long-term care facilities may offer the programs to future hires. In most cases, these programs require a work commitment after the course is completed. Criminal background checks are required of most nurse technicians working in a hospital or long-term care setting. Once a nurse technician has met the requirements for certification, she will be added to the state registry of nurse technicians.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that excellent job opportunities are expected for nurse technicians. Financial pressures to discharge patients quickly from hospitals should result in higher admission to long-term care facilities. Increased census in long-term care would also increase the demand for nurse technicians. The median wage reported for nurse technicians, in 2008, was listed as $11.46 per hour.
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