Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.
Nursing aides, sometimes called nursing attendants or nursing assistants, provide basic care and help with basic living activities. They typically do the following:
Some nursing aides and attendants may also dispense medication, depending on their training level and the state in which they work.
In nursing homes, aides and attendants are often the principal caregivers. They have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Because some residents stay in a nursing home for months or years, aides and attendants may develop close, caring relationships with their patients.
Orderlies may do some of the same tasks as nursing aides and attendants, although they do not usually provide healthcare services. They typically do the following:
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants work as part of a healthcare team under the supervision of licensed practical or vocational nurses or registered nurses.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition