The Pay Scale for Nursing Assistants
Nursing Assistants are a valuable part of our medical facility staff. They offer ongoing care to patients at level most other staff don’t have the time to. They tend to basic needs of bathing, feeding, and dressing. They also provide emotional support to the patient and the family. Nursing Assistants are expected to help other medical staff at a moments notice with a variety of tasks including setting up medical equipment and getting patients ready to be taken for X-rays and surgery.
Most people entering the Nursing Assistant field don’t do it for the pay. They do it out of a desire to be of assistance to others in need as well as a desire to work in the medical field. Since medical facilities rank Nursing Assistant as an entry level position, they pay is very low compared to others, especially nurses. This can lead to some Nursing Assistants feeling angry, upset, and unappreciated.
The median expected salary for a Nursing Assistant in the United States is $24,383. On average, that is approximately $2,000 per month. That amount varies by experience and job location. As you can see, it does pay more than minimum wage and often employees in this field are able to secure health insurance and retirement plans.
However, when you compare that to the median salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse, which is $43,333, you can see a huge different. While it is understood that the Licensed Practical Nurse position holds more responsibility and well as requires more schooling and training, we can also see why some Nursing Assistants feel that they aren’t earning enough. It is also common that the better a Nursing Assistant is paid, the more pride they take in offering quality services to all patients.
Many health care facilities understand this, and work hard to keep Nursing Assistants content. They try to give raises as they can for performance as well as the length of time on the job. They understand that Nursing Assistants are vital to the overall balance of the Nursing staff. They also realize finding qualified employees is hard enough without having to continually interview and train new staff. Since Nursing Assistant jobs are plentiful, they can lose their good employees to other facilities who offer better pay.
Due to the pay difference, some individuals choose to go to school directly into a degree program and skip the Nursing Assistant certificate program all together. For those wanting to ease in the doorway of the medical profession and those who need the income while in school, the Nursing Assistant program is still very valuable to them in terms of having an income and being in a learning environment of the medical field.
The pay scale difference can often result in issues arising between Nursing Assistants and the Nursing staff. On one side, you have Nursing staff feeling that they have a degree and shouldn’t have to participate in particular tasks. Others just are overwhelmed by time restraints, and therefore keep their job segregated from that of the Nursing Assistants. On the other side you have Nursing Assistants who feel their tasks are harder and they aren’t getting paid nearly as much as the Nursing staff. This can lead to them developing feelings of resentment towards the Nursing staff. This being said, it is important for administration to help both the Nursing staff and Nursing Assistants interact and appreciate each other.
Seeing that pay difference as well as wanting to participate in more advances areas with the patients has lead many Nursing Assistants back into training to earn a degree as a Licensed Practice Nurse, a Registered Nurse, or another specified area in the medical field.
Medical facilities and the government agree that when medical staff is short, the patients are the ones who suffer the most. It is no different in the area of Nursing Assistant. If they positions aren’t filled, the patients may not get all of their needs met daily. For example, some nursing homes only bathe the patients every other day because of short staff issues.
The government is trying to find funding to help increase the rate of pay for Nursing Assistants. However, they feel that they pay isn’t the only issue. It is believed that healthcare facilities need to start showing Nursing Assistants more respect, appreciation, and recognition for their hard work. This profession has one of the highest turn over rates do to demanding work conditions, feelings of being under valued, and lower pay than most feel they are worth. The result is healthcare facility patients feeling the burden in part because of the pay scale for Nursing Assistants.