occupationsNurse Aides, Orderlies, and Patient Service Associates   (NOC: 3413)

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates assist nurses, hospital staff and physicians in the basic care of patients. They are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities.

Alternate titles for this trade may include: health care aide, hospital attendant, long term care aide, nurse aide, nursing attendant, orderly, patient care aide, patient service associate, psychiatric aide

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The following are some of the employment requirements for this trade:

  • Some secondary school education and on-the-job training or A nursing aide or health care aide college or private institutional program, or a college nursing orderly program and supervised practical training are required.
  • Some health care facilities may also require completion of specialized courses such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), first aid and food handling/sterile processing.

Pattern of Interests   |   Skill Requirements

Pattern of Interests

The code determined by the results of your answers to the Interest Inventory questionnaire. Each possibility has a 3 letter variation that assesses the degree and range of your interests along Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social criteria variables.


Methodical interest in copying routine procedures to provide basic patient care, supervise patients' exercise routines, transport patients in wheelchairs and stretchers, and supply and empty bed pans; and in maintaining inventory of supplies


Objective interest in operating medical equipment to take blood pressure, temperature and pulse; in collecting specimens such as urine, faeces and sputum; and in performing other procedures as directed by nursing and hospital staff


Social interest in assisting hospital staff by carrying messages, reports, requisitions and specimens from one department to another; and in providing comfort to patients by answering call signals, making beds and maintaining patients' rooms

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Skill Requirements

Below are Essential Skill categories and how they correspond to this occupation. This section will help you identify occupations where you have a good chance of succeeding. It can also help you see which Skills you may need to improve. Click on the Summary Analysis link above to view a complete analysis of how your Skills measure up to this occupation. This feature is only available for those Users that are logged in and have completed the self assessment component.

The most important Essential Skills for this trade are:

  • Document Use
  • Oral Communication
  • Working with Others


Reading Text

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Read notices and memos about upcoming events or changes in procedures.
  • Read notes from nurses and other co-workers about incidents that occurred during an earlier shift.
  • Read safety information, such as fire regulations, poison-control information sheets, workplace hazardous materials information system (whmis) data sheets or the emergency code manual.
  • May read labels on containers for instructions and precautions.
  • May read brochures and pamphlets for information about particular diseases or about the proper use of treatment and exercise equipment.
  • May read personal letters, newspapers, magazines and books to patients to entertain them.
  • May read profiles or reports, which provide information on the health, behaviour and nutritional needs of patients, to determine how to help patients and to keep informed on their progress.


Document Use

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Note: This is an important skill
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Read signs and symbols, such as workplace hazardous materials information system (whmis) symbols.
  • Read lists of patient names, their requirements and care needs.
  • Read labels on medications and ointments, clothing and laundry chemicals.
  • Read schedules of tasks to be performed and work schedules to know which shifts they are to work.
  • Complete forms such as patient care forms, medical test forms or hospital admission forms. (daily)
  • Plot temperature and vital signs graphs on the clinical record form.
  • Read and enter information about patients' background health, behaviour and history of care onto charts and forms. (daily)
  • May interpret drawings and figures when reading information about a procedure or about how to use a piece of equipment.



Desired Skill Level Range: 1-2
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Write notes to themselves or co-workers concerning completed tasks or tasks that need to be done. (frequently)
  • Make entries in logs recording tasks completed or incidents that occurred. (daily)
  • Record information on charts or forms indicating patients' progress, conditions or behaviours. (daily)
  • May write letters for patients.
  • Complete forms to report incidents such as a patient's fall, or to provide information, such as when a resident is admitted or dies.



Desired Skill Level Range: 1-2
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • May count patients' money to sign it in when the patient is admitted. (money math), (1), (occasionally)
  • May calculate a patient's weight by subtracting from the scale reading the weight of the wheelchair or chair in which the patient is sitting. (measurement and calculation math), (1), (occasionally)
  • Measure patients' temperature, respiration, weight and height, liquid input and output, vital signs and blood pressure. (measurement and calculation math), (1), (daily)
  • May plot patient temperatures on a chart to show deviations from normal ranges. (data analysis math), (1), (daily)
  • May estimate the amount of supplies which need to be ordered. (numerical estimation), (1)
  • May estimate how long it will take to dress, bathe or exercise patients, taking into account how much the residents can do, whether they are co-operative and whether their work may be disrupted by a co-worker. (numerical estimation), (2)


Oral Communication

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-2
  Note: This is an important skill
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Listen to patients to make behavioural observations and to assess their needs.
  • Listen for ringing bells or patients calling for assistance. (daily)
  • Talk reassuringly to comfort patients.
  • Interact with co-workers to co-ordinate work activities, share information or request assistance. (daily)
  • Receive instructions from their supervisors. (daily)
  • Inform nursing staff or other supervisors of changes in patients' conditions. (daily)
  • Explain procedures to patients and respond to their questions and concerns. (daily)
  • Talk with patients' families and friends to greet them and exchange information.
  • Participate in staff meetings to discuss schedules, duties and patient care.


Problem Solving

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Deal with patients who do not want to eat, take a bath or get out of bed. they must determine why these patients do not want to co-operate and try to obtain their co-operation. they may ask co-workers for assistance.
  • Deal with patients' families or friends who disagree with how patients are cared for. they listen to these concerns and either try to find solutions themselves or inform their supervisor.
  • Respond when patients' conditions worsen suddenly, such as by having a heart attack. they must be aware of such symptoms and know when to obtain assistance.
  • Deal with patients who have behavioural problems, such as verbal or physical aggression. they must determine how to work with these patients to stop the behaviour and ensure that no one is harmed.


Decision Making

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Decide whether patients are well enough to get out of bed for meals and activities, taking into consideration many aspects of their mental and physical health. (daily)
  • Make decisions about the sequencing of tasks, such as which patients to bathe or feed first, using the patients' needs or time preferences as a guide. (daily)
  • Decide when to notify nurses of a change in a patient's condition. (daily)


Job Task Planning

Desired Skill Level Range: 2
  The duties and tasks of Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates are assigned to them by supervisors, although they have some control over the order in which tasks are carried out. They must plan the activities for which a partner is needed or where co-ordination with other staff members is required. Certain tasks have higher priority because they must be done by the end of the workday. When disruptions occur, Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates may reorganize their tasks in light of these priorities.


Finding Information

Desired Skill Level Range: 1
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Use the telephone book to find phone numbers, such as the number for a particular doctor's office.
  • Locate information on the health and care of patients by referring to their charts or files, or talking to their supervisors and co-workers. (daily)


Critical Thinking

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A


Use of Memory

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A
  Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates:
  • Remember which patients have appointments with the physiotherapist or other medical staff and at what times. there may be many appointments to keep straight during the shift.
  • Remember special instructions for each patient. (daily)
  • Remember the names and preferences of patients and their family members.


Working with Others

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A
  Note: This is an important skill

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates mainly work independently. they work with a partner when performing specific tasks where they require assistance, such as moving patients from beds to wheelchairs or into a bathtub. they are members of a health care team which also includes registered nurses and other health care professionals.



Continuous Learning

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates learn about new products and health-care procedures. some attend hospital seminars on topics such as first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (cpr). some attend meetings to learn more about diseases such as alzheimer's or huntington's. some receive training on new equipment, such as wheelchairs or mechanical patient-lifts or beds. in addition, fire drill training is considered important for all.



Other Information

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A

Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates spend their days standing, walking, bending and lifting.

The nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates interviewed felt that nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates should be caring, empathetic and patient. they should also have a positive attitude and enjoy working with people.

Changes which may affect the essential skills used by these workers in the future include the increasing computerization of patient records. also, new technology, such as machines to lift patients, may make the work less physically demanding.


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