14 Pros and Cons of Being a Nurse Assistant

Nurse assistants help nurses handle their day-to-day work tasks, such as diagnosing patients, providing hands-on care, and assisting with various treatments.

Starting this career might be a quick and effective way to get into the medical field for the right person.

Here are the pros and cons that you need to consider if this job interests you.

Pros of Being a Nurse Assistant 

Starting a career as a nurse assistant comes with many advantages that make it more than worth your time, especially if you’re interested in helping other people and have experience in the medical field.

Even if you’re new to medicine, but simply want to make a difference, this career path could help you achieve your dreams and provide you with steady and rewarding work. 

1. Minimal Training Requirements 

Did you know that you can become a nurse assistant in as little as 4-12 weeks of training?

That makes it one of the quickest-to-master medical jobs, particularly for people who simply want to get working.

In fact, much of your training is actually hands-on, meaning that you dive right in with nurses and learn exactly what you need to do before you start a job.

That’s a significant benefit for people who prefer to learn by doing rather than reading or listening. 

2. High Demand 

While nurse assistants might not be the most in-demand job on the market, they’re also relatively in need.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this field will grow by 5% between 2021 and 2031.

That means there will be 64,900 new nursing assistant jobs in the market by that time.

As a result, it should be fairly easy for you to find a job in this field, especially if you live in a big city that has a lot of hospitals that need nurse assistants. 

3. The Chance to Help Others 

Are you one of those people who lives to help your peers?

That’s an amazing personality type and one that is well worth matching with a fun and engaging career.

For example, nurse assistants not only help nurses handle their duties but also help the general public get better through hands-on nursing support.

For people who want to make a positive difference in their world, this career is an excellent calling and one that may fit well into your personality. 

4. Work With High-Tech Devices 

Nurse assistants often have the opportunity to work with a variety of high-tech items, such as various diagnostic and treatment tools.

As a result, you’ll get to explore your interest in this field while mastering more advanced techniques.

Just as importantly, you might find yourself advancing to other careers, such as X-rays and CAT scans.

Sometimes, hospitals provide hands-on training for skilled nursing assistants to help them master new jobs like these. 

5. Learn Transferable Skills 

Interestingly, you’re also going to learn various skills that should easily transfer to your personal and professional life.

For example, you’ll learn better teamwork abilities, communication skills, and patient-handling methods.

These unique boosts can help you in a variety of ways, such as expanding your resume to make it easier for you to find new jobs.

These hard and soft skills are all essential in the medical field and will make it easier for you to make real career progress. 

6. Potentially Travel

Have you ever heard of travel nurses who move from hospital to hospital to fill in at facilities that lack support?

Well, nurse assistants may also have this career option!

Your hospital will pay you to travel to a new area and even cover your living expenses as you work for them.

This career path is an awesome option for people who want to travel or who aren’t tied down to a specific area.

It also suits those individuals who want to make a little more money.

7. Stay on Your Feet 

So many jobs don’t give you a chance to stand up and move and chain you to a desk.

While you do have to do paperwork as a nurse assistant, you’re not stuck sitting all day doing it.

Instead, you’ll be on your feet diagnosing patients, processing their paperwork, and providing other high-quality support.

Typically, a nurse assistant is even busier than a nurse, meaning that you’ll go where they go and help them along every step of their care journey.

Cons of Being a Nurse Assistant

While there are many advantages to starting this career, there are several negatives that you need to keep in mind.

After all, no job is perfect, and there are several drawbacks that may concern you about this career.

Read through this list carefully, gauge how well these positives compare to the negatives, and make a smart choice about your career.

Never start training for a job until you feel comfortable with your choice.

1. Pay is Mediocre 

Now, a nurse assistant isn’t necessarily poorly trained.

According to the BLS document listed previously, nurse assistants can make about $14.56 per hour or $30,290.

That’s not a huge amount of money, granted, but it is far from the lowest-paid job in the world.

However, you may find that this pay is not suitable for your lifestyle: some nurse assistants even struggle to pay their bills.

Note that this pay level will vary depending on your employer and region. 

2. Physically Demanding 

Do you know a nurse who constantly complains about the physical nature of their job?

They’re probably not wrong, but nurse assistants may work twice as hard.

After all, they’re doing a lot of the menial things that nurses don’t have time to do, meaning that you’ll be on your feet moving a lot.

While we mentioned that in the pros section as a benefit, some people might find this fast-paced career rather exhausting and may struggle to attend to all of its unique demands. 

3. Long Work Hours

Everyone in the medical field works far too many hours, which has caused a pandemic of burnout in the industry.

For example, it’s not unusual for nurse assistants to work 12 hours a day, three days a week, or to put in even more hours in overtime.

That kind of manic pace might be rewarding for some people at first, but may quickly become exhausting.

As a result, it’s important to understand your limits and your ability to work a long time without getting many direct breaks.

4. Rough Emotionally 

As a nurse assistant, you’re going to experience a lot of potential personal issues and drawbacks.

For example, you might see someone you’ve been caring for pass away, which is always emotionally devastating.

Sadly, the people who do the best at nursing jobs are often those who are most affected by these devastating moments.

If you’re not prepared to lose someone as a nurse assistant or don’t think you can handle the emotions associated with that, don’t work this job and find another career.

5. Advancement Requires Training 

You can advance in a nurse assistant career: however, you’re going to need to take training.

Many times, you’ll have to pay for these courses, and those costs can be over $1,000 or more, depending on your state.

In some rare situations, your hospital may pay for your training, which definitely negates this negative a little.

But the extra work is challenging, and you may also be required to work while you train, which will add many extra work hours to your day and potentially wear you out more quickly.

6. You Could Work Weekends 

Nurse assistants don’t always get the Monday through Friday and 9-5 job that they crave.

Unfortunately, most people in the medical field have to work weekends occasionally.

Many facilities are kind enough to either hire full-time weekend workers or shift this work so that employees aren’t the only ones working on those days.

That said, if you’re someone who loves having those two days off at the end of the week, a nurse assistant job might not be a great choice.

In fact, no medical career likely suits you!

7. High Risk of Sickness

Anytime you work in the medical field, there’s a risk that you might get sick.

For example, you could easily get exposed to things like COVID-19 and other diseases and develop adverse reactions that may leave you sick for days or even weeks.

As a nurse assistant, your risk is even higher because you’ll be working directly with patients in a more hands-on manner.

Unfortunately, this means you’re likely to be the one getting coughed on when they get sick.

That’s a rough situation for anyone to deal with properly.

14 Pros and Cons of Working as a Nurse Assistant – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Nurse AssistantCons of Being a Nurse Assistant
1. Minimal Training Requirements1. Pay is Mediocre
2. High Demand2. Physically Demanding
3. The Chance to Help Others3. Long Work Hours
4. Work With High-Tech Devices4. Rough Emotionally
5. Learn Transferable Skills5. Advancement Requires Training
6. Potentially Travel6. You Could Work Weekends
7. Stay on Your Feet7. High Risk of Sickness

Should You Become a Nurse Assistant?

If you want to work in the medical field but don’t feel like spending most of your life training for this path, become a nurse assistant.

Yes, it is a demanding job and one that may cause stress.

However, many people find it rewarding, especially those who like helping others.

Furthermore, you might even get training to earn a nursing degree from your employer if they end up liking your work and think that you would make an excellent nurse rather than an assistant.

As a result, it’s a great career option to consider for those who want to advance in the medical field.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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