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What Do You Need to Work in a Nursing Home?

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Individuals who work in a nursing home should possess excellent interpersonal skills with a sincere desire to assist patients. Additional vital skills are patience, emotionally stability, dependability, confidentiality, the willingness to work well with others and the capability to perform repetitive daily tasks.


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Individuals interested in working in a nursing home as a healthcare or administrative professional should have the desire to care for the elderly. Workers are required to be in overall good health and are normally subject to state mandated disease and drug testing. Those employed in nursing homes must pass a criminal background and it is mandatory that healthcare professionals are current with certifications and licensures. Nursing home personnel must undergo patient and personal safety training and must follow proper procedures when caring for patients at all times.

Types of Education

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Nursing aides typically only need a high school diploma or equivalent; while LPN’s and RN’s must hold an associates or bachelors degree in nursing. Administrative professionals may also need a technical or higher level degree; however requirements vary by occupation and work environments. Employees, whether clinical or clerical, may also be required to perform on-the-job training, classroom instruction, lectures, workshops or mandatory in-service trainings.


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While many individuals who work at nursing homes are only required to care for elderly patients who may be sick; others may be responsible for the care of patients that could potentially harm them, such as patients with advanced states of Alzheimer. Nursing aides can encounter disoriented and uncooperative patients; and psychiatric aides should be prepared for violent behavior from patients with serious mental illnesses.


Roe Gillis is a writer, photographer and career specialist who has published articles covering business, travel, medical concerns, family and news. She has an associate degree in journalism from Pensacola State and a background in human resources.

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