A restorative nursing assistant, or RNA, is a type of nursing assistant trained to help nurses in restoring mobility to patients. Because of the nature of the assigned tasks, an RNA is sometimes referred to as a patient care assistant.
Following the restorative treatment plan devised by a nurse, the RNA helps the patient perform basic day-to-day activities such as bathing, dressing up, eating and walking. The RNA also cleans up the room, changes bed linens and checks catheter tubing and urinary drainage bags.
An RNA documents health care activities and maintains patient's medical records, and is responsible for notifying the nurse if there are any adjustments or reassessments to be made. In some workplaces, the RNA may work with a physical therapist in the rehabilitation process.
Although some RNAs enter the field with only a high school diploma, employers such as hospitals, nursing care facilities and residential care centers prefer someone who has formal training via a restorative aide certificate program. This can be completed at a technical school or community college in six months.
As part of the general population of nursing assistants, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that RNAs made an average annual salary of around $25,000 in 2009.
RNAs have direct contact with patients--more so than most health care professionals. Thus their duties are very essential in patient recovery and eventual re-entry into an independent lifestyle.