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Nursing support worker

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Summary of occupation

Assistants in nursing help registered nurses to give general patient care.  They assist nursing staff by supporting patients with tasks like helping them with their hygiene eg showering and shaving, meal set up and feeding, performing basic procedures such as monitoring blood pressure and applying and changing simple dressings,  assisting them to move into and out of bed, and to mobilise around the ward.

ANZSCO description: Provides limited patient care under the direction of nursing staff.
Alternative names: nursing support worker, nurses aide
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

    An Assistant in nursing needs:

  • good communication skills;
  • to be physically fit;
  • ability to follow instructions;
  • patience; and
  • a caring attitude.
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Working conditions

Assistants in nursing may be required to work evenings, weekends, public holidays or rostered shifts.

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Salary details

On average, assistants in nursing can expect to earn between $931 and $978 per week ($48 432 to $50 853 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an assistant in nursing develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Assistants in nursing can be required to use a range of tools and technologies including: lifting aids, shower chairs, personal hygiene tools eg shaver, nail trimmers.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an assistant in nursing you usually need a formal qualification in health services assistance. 

The Certificate III in Health Services Assistance is offered at TAFE Colleges and registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. 

You can also complete a traineeship. The health service assistance traineeship takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

A National Police Certificate is needed when seeking employment in aged care homes.

To work with children in Western Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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