Educational Programs
National School of Technology

A. Phillip Randolph Academies of Technology
Atlantic Technical Center
Bradford-Union Area Vocational-Technical Center
Brevard Community College
Central Florida Community College
Charlotte Technical Center
Chipola College
D. A. Dorsey Education Center
Daytona State College
DeSoto County Adult Education Center
First Coast Technical Institute
Florida Gateway College
Florida National College
Florida State College at Jacksonville
George Stone Center
Henry W. Brewster Technical Center
Hialeah High Adult Education Center
Immokalee Technical Center
Florida Gateway College
Indian River State College
Lake City Community College
Lake Technical Center
Learey Technical Center
Lee County High Tech Center Central
Lee County High Tech North
Lindsey Hopkins Tech. Education Center
Lively Technical Center
Locklin Technical Center
Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology
Manatee Technical Institute
Marion County Community Technical & Adult Education
Miami Lakes Educational Center
Miami Skill Center
Moore-Mickens Education Center
North Florida Community College
Orlando Vocational Technical Center
Palm Beach State College
Pasco-Hernando Community College
Pensacola Junior College
Pinellas Technical Education Center
Ridge Career Center
Robert Morgan Vocational Technical Institute
Santa Fe College
Sarasota County Technical Institute
Seminole State College of Florida
Sheridan Technical Center
South Florida Community College
St. Johns River Community College
Suwannee-Hamilton Technical Center
Taylor Technical Institute
Technical Educational Center Osceola
Thomas P. Haney Technical Center
Traviss Career Center
Wakulla County Adult School
Walton Career Development Center
Washington-Holmes Technical Center
West Technical Education Center
Withlacoochee Technical Institute

Professional Associations
American Nurses Association
National League for Nursing

Nursing assistants (NAs) are trained to perform basic patient care under the supervision of registered nurses and/or licensed practical nurses. Their work responsibilities include measuring vital signs and assisting patients with daily living activities, such as feeding, bathing, moving, or grooming. patients, changing linens, and storing or sterilizing equipment.

Patient care assistants (PCAs) receive additional training that expands the traditional role of the nursing assistant. This training includes an increase in supervised clinical hours, a component related to home health and a component related to caring for patients in a hospital.

Nursing Assistant / Patient Care Assistant

The patient care technician (PCT) expands the nursing assistant role further with additional training in several areas, including EKG, phlebotomy, and an introduction to physical therapy. Graduates of these programs are prepared to care for patients in nursing homes and hospitals. In addition, they are prepared to care for clients in their homes.

Work Environment
Generally, nursing assistants and patient care assistants work in well-lighted, clean surroundings. Many work in hospitals, nursing homes, home health care agencies, and doctors' offices. Their health status must be very good as they will be on their feet most of the time. They are required to lift and move patients. The work week is usually 40 hours and includes weekends, nights, and holidays.

Job Outlook
Approximately 2,981 job openings are expected each year in Florida until 2008.

Length of Training/Requirements
A high school diploma/GED is not required, although applicants must be at least 16 years of age. Programs have been established to allow students to receive training while enrolled in high school. Upon graduation, the high school student is prepared to enter the work force as a nursing assistant or patient care assistant. Individual counselors will provide the details for entry into training. Training programs provide instruction and supervised clinical experiences related to basic patient care, interpersonal/communication skills, safety measures, infection control, medical terminology, nutrition, basic anatomy, vital signs, CPR, and employability skills. Supervised clinical experiences for nursing assistants are provided in nursing homes. A minimum of 40 clinical hours is required. They may also complete additional clinical hours that may include rotations to hospitals and home health agencies. The nursing assistant component, which is a state approved, non-matriculated course that promotes quick entry into the work force, is approximately 120 hours of training. Clinical experiences for patient care assistants occur in hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and private homes. The patient care assistant program is approximately 290 hours.

Advancement requires additional education to expand the level of knowledge and skills. Nursing assistants and patient care assistants may be given advanced standing in licensed practical nursing programs.

Successful completion of an approved program in either nurse assisting or patient care assisting prepares the student to take the National Nurse's Aide Assessment Program. Successful completion of both a written evaluation and a skills performance evaluation is required for certification placement on the Florida Nursing Assistant Registry. Certification is required to work in a licensed nursing home in the state of Florida. This certification must be obtained within 120 days of employment. Some hospitals and other health care facilities may also require certification. Once the nursing assistant or patient care assistant becomes certified, they are eligible to perform home health aide duties. Certification is maintained by completing the required number of continuing education classes and by working in a nursing related occupation without a lapse of 24 months.

According to the Florida Hospital Association, the average hourly wage for nursing assistants/patient care assistants was $11.54 in 2009.

Updated: 2009