Difference between a Nursing Assistant and a Nurse

Although some of the tasks performed by these professionals are related, there are many differences between these two trades. It is important to take into consideration that the tasks that each one fulfills and the level of responsibility of each position is different, as well as the level of training necessary for the development of the activities of each professional.

In general, one of the main differences between a nursing assistant and a nurse It is the level of studies. Nurses are professionals who obtain their qualifications thanks to university studies, while assistants take Vocational Training courses which, as they are a technical academic degree, have a shorter duration.

It is even possible to obtain the degree of nursing assistant remotely, through the internet or semi-face-to-face. It is a study model that allows students to adapt their schedules according to their occupations and lifestyle, managing to complete an academic training that is highly successful in the labor market.

Certainly, both share some tasks in common, but the nursing assistant is subordinate to the nurse, who has studied university for four years, in addition to specializations.

In the following lines we will tell you a little more about the differences between the two professionals and what their contribution to the health of patients is.

What do nurses and nursing assistants have in common?

Both a nurse and a nursing assistant have the ability to take care of the health of patients, following the indications of the specialist medical team. The functions of both professionals are health and care: support, accompaniment, control and adequate administration of medications and hygienic care, as well as nutritional monitoring.

Both must work as a team, following the guidelines of specialist doctors and surgeons in order to offer comprehensive patient care. Through teamwork, both the assistants and the nurses are able to improve the quality of medical care that patients receive in a healthcare or emergency center.

What are the functions of a nurse?

The nurse is responsible for providing direct care and attention to the patient who is in charge of a hospital or care center. For this, it is important that you work together and under the orders of a doctor, who will be the one who provides and supervises the health care plan that corresponds to each patient.

Some most common functions or tasks that nurses must perform are as follows:

  • A nurse is able to make observations and inform the treating physician of any changes that may occur in the patient. This observation includes monitoring of diet, level of physical activity, vital signs, etc.
  • Has the ability and knowledge to provide preventive and curative treatments.
  • You can apply treatments subcutaneously, intramuscularly, intravenously, rectally and orally.
  • It works as a support to the doctor, to measure blood pressure, take weights, measurements, apply dressings and other similar tasks.
  • It has the ability to prepare patients for surgery.
  • Advises, provides clarification, and instructs patients regarding the instructions to follow to complete the treatment indicated by the physician.

What are the functions of a nursing assistant?

We have already known the list of functions that are under the responsibility of the nurse. Now, we will make a breakdown of the functions to be performed by a nursing assistant, which are developed under the supervision of the nurse in charge. Among the most prominent tasks of a nursing assistant, we have the following:

  • Observe the evolution of the patient and immediately inform the nurse of any changes that occur.
  • Take urine, stool, and sputum samples.
  • Help and support patients in their mobilization when they are bedridden.
  • Feeding or facilitating the feeding process for patients who cannot complete the task on their own.
  • He will be responsible for providing the necessary hygiene to patients who are bedridden. The tasks corresponding to this work are: changing sheets, bathing, shaving and changing clothes.
  • Sterilize the health equipment that will be used by the doctor and nurse in charge. Also clean the work surfaces that the nurse has to use.
  • Provide oral and rectal medication. When the medication is indicated intravenously, intramuscularly or subcutaneously, it will be the responsibility of the nurse.

Having clarity about the functions of each professional, it is possible to establish more easily what are the differences between one position or another. It is true that they are quite similar trades, both with high levels of responsibility within the medical team. The efficiency of the doctor is based, to a great extent, on the work of nurses and assistants.

One of the most substantial differences is that the assistants, although they may be trained for the task, are not authorized to draw blood, or to provide treatment by intravenous and intramuscular means. The level of responsibility is another of the big differences between the two health care specialties.

Of course, the fact that the nursing assistant is subordinate to the nurse does not imply that their tasks are less important. An auxiliary must know in depth the different care protocols, as well as a nurse, so that he can assist him when he needs it.

The Professional Training of a nursing assistant includes all the fundamental notions about sanitation and health. In addition, throughout your training you will have to develop a professional profile with particular characteristics, among which are the ability to pay attention to details, observe, work in a team and follow directions even under stressful or distressing situations.

It will also require sufficient patience, a sense of responsibility, empathy, sensitivity, manual and practical skills, coordination, physical endurance, strength and emotional control, the ability to take notes and prepare reports, self-initiative and a thorough knowledge of all established procedures and follow them to the letter.

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