Nurse assistants provide basic care services to patients in facilities such as nursing homes, long-term care centers, hospitals and clinics. They also work in home health care. In New Hampshire, nurse assistants must be licensed, which requires a certain level of training and professional certification. Average salaries for nurse assistants in New Hampshire are generally higher than the national average for this occupation.
Nurse assistants help patients with personal tasks such as bathing, shampooing their hair and getting dressed. They record each patient's vital signs, including blood pressure and temperature. Nurse assistants help patients eat, if necessary, and monitor food intake. They turn and reposition bedridden patients to prevent bedsores. They also perform enemas, change bedpans and monitor catheters. Because nurse assistants are responsible for monitoring vital signs and for observing any changes in each patient's condition or behavior, they have a great deal of contact with patients. In nursing homes, the nurse assistant often is a primary source of companionship.
For licensing in New Hampshire, a prospective nurse assistant must graduate from an educational program approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. Over 20 programs in the state qualify as of January 2011. Training typically lasts one semester on a part-time basis. The graduate must pass a written examination, which qualifies the nurse assistant as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). The federal government requires this credential for nurse assistants to work in nursing care facilities, which employ substantial numbers of these workers. The New Hampshire Board of Nursing also sometimes grants licenses to applicants who have not completed a board-approved training program but who demonstrate comparable nursing educational preparation.
The nationwide average salary for nurse assistants in January 2011 was about $32,510, according to CBSalary. Those in the middle 50 percent of the earnings scale were making $26,400 to $44,880. In New Hampshire, the average salary was $36,640, and the middle 50 percent were making $29,760 to $50,570 per year. Licensed nurse assistants in Berlin were making about $33,790 per year, in the Manchester and Concord area $35,780 and in Laconia $38,160.
The job search website Indeed.com lists about 100 jobs for licensed nurse assistants throughout New Hampshire in January 2011. Positions are available in nursing facilities, assisted living centers, clinics, hospitals and medical centers. Some jobs are part-time and some on an as-needed basis. Full-time positions typically provide health and dental insurance, life insurance, long-term and short-term disability payments, a 401(k) or other savings plan and paid vacations and holidays.