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Doctors, nurses and maintenance workers are the most visible parts of a hospital staff. Another member, the patient support assistant, is there to attend to many patient needs that other staff members don't. Depending on the type of hospital and the needs of the community, the job duties of a patient support assistant can vary from a medical role to one that is similar to a social worker.
The job duties of a patient support assistant include assisting the patients in hygiene-related tasks. This includes shaving, bathing, combing the hair and brushing the teeth. The patient support assistant also helps patients in and out of bed in order to perform the daily hygiene activities. Pre-operative shaving and bathing are other duties that come with the job.
To aide nurses in a busy hospital setting, the patient support assistant helps with the documentation surrounding a patient’s stay in the hospital. Patient support assistants document some of the daily observations taken on every visit with the patient. This includes condition improvements and changes in habits and behaviors. Recording vital signs is another part of the patient support assistant's job description.
When the nursing staff is short-handed, the patient support assistant may have to help in taking samples from the patients. This includes taking blood samples and that of other bodily fluids needed for laboratory tests. To perform these duties, the person needs additional training in phlebotomy and body fluid handling.
In hospitals that also run clinics, the patient support assistant is charged with following up with patients after treatment. Scheduling and even escorting patients are also a part of the job.
Collecting linens, clearing out and resetting rooms after each patient and also ensuring that the hospital is a safe and clean place are all a part of the job. Patient support assistants might also organize and perform filing duties.
Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.