Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates are all types of health care assistants (HCAs). In B.C., HCAs who work in hospitals and facilities are known as care aides. They assist nurses, doctors, hospital and facility staff in the basic care of patients.
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a patient care attendant is like.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 18,430
In general, care aides work closely with patients to:
In addition, care aides:
Care aides may also:
Care aides work in hospital wards and in a growing range of private and public long-term care facilities. These include group homes, hospices, and facilities focused on acute care, multi-level/complex care, dementia care, assisted living, mental health, and pre- and post-surgery care.
Care aides usually work 8- to 12-hour shifts. Full-time employees work 36 to 40 hours per week. They often work weekends, holidays, evenings or nights. On-call and part-time work is also common.
This work can be physically demanding, with constant standing and walking. Care aides also do a great deal of lifting, but the use of patient lifts means fewer worksite injuries. Care aides can become stressed and fatigued from working with sick and disabled patients. In addition, they may be exposed to infectious diseases, toxic chemicals and violent patients.
More and more, care aides use computers and new technology to record patient information, organize work schedules and perform other tasks.
Source: 2016 Census
Most care aide jobs require certification as a health care assistant (HCA).
To be certified as an HCA, care aides must:
Care aides may also need:
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
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Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
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There are many job opportunities for care aides in a variety of environments across B.C. Demand is especially high in long-term care facilities and privately-run institutions, and in rural and remote areas. As a result, where there is strong demand, salaries are rising.
The role of care aides is expanding, especially in workplaces without a registered nurse on site.
Care aides typically begin their careers in casual or on-call roles. But more and more, new graduates of health care assistant programs are finding permanent positions.
With additional education and certification, a care aide can become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). From there, they can train to become a registered nurse (RN).